Thursday, February 26, 2015

History Repeats in Indiana

Senator Scott Schneider
Indiana is going down a dangerous path, and we've seen it before.

The Indiana House is about ready to take up the so-called "religious liberty" bill that passed out of the Senate on a 40-10 vote on Tuesday.

It's a bill that is less about religious liberty and more about fear of those that you don't approve of.  That's what this is really about.

State Senator Scott Schneider claims that this bill is not a "sword" but instead a "shield" allowing people to protect themselves from doing business with those they disagree with by hiding behind the legislation.  Really, it's another affront to LGBT Hoosiers who are once again being told, "You may be able to marry like us, but you'll never be the same as us.  Just to be sure, we're going to try to codify that into law."

We can already see what kinds of trouble a bill like this can cause.  Just look to the north in Michigan where they don't have this type of bill.  Just a few days ago, news broke that a pediatrician refused to see the child of a lesbian couple.  Imagine an emergency room doctor or nurse refusing to treat a gay person or a gay person's family member because of their religious beliefs.

If Schneider's legislation seems familiar, it is.  It's very much the same exact type of legislation that was passed in the post-slavery South to justify treating those of a different skin color in a different manner.  I'm not comparing the plight of LGBT Americans to those of African-Americans, but I believe treating people differently because of something they cannot change about themselves is not right.  It is not only wrong, but it goes against the teachings of many religions.  It goes against the teachings of Jesus Christ.

What Scott Schneider and those of his ilk are afraid to say is that they have passed this legislation because they don't want to bridge the gap between fear and understanding.  It is just easier to discriminate.  That it's a lot more simple to try to stand behind this legislative shield than it is to go about the business of tolerance and understanding.

I beg the Indiana House to do the right thing and vote down this law.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Indy Council Committee Approves Angie's List Deal

A City-County Council Committee voted on Monday to advance the Angie's List "stimulus" to the full Council.

I still can't figure out why the city is so enamored with this company.

Here's the deal, Angie's List wants to take over the old Ford plant on the near-Eastside and create over 1,000 jobs.  They also want over $18 million in tax incentives to do so.  The Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee approved the deal which would also move an IPS Maintenance Facility.

If this were Eli Lilly or even Anthem, I could maybe get on board with this expansion, but this is Angie's List.  It's a company that continues to struggle to even get close to turning a profit, has laid off workers as recently as August 2014, and has a business model that is essentially the same thing offered by tons of other free sites that review products and help people select the best choices.

If I want to know about a plumber, for example, I don't go to Angie's List.  I go to Google!

So, here we are, handing out more in tax incentives, and my friends, both Republican and Democrat, are championing it.  Yes, I know it benefits your districts, but what about the rest of the city?

To the naysayers, the Councillors say don't worry.  If Angie's List fails, you'll get some of the money back because the deal does have some clawbacks
.
I guess I've just seen too many of these bad deals up close.  Here in my area of town, we still suffer from the United Maintenance Facility deal that didn't come close to producing what it said it would.

I swear I sound like a fiscal conservative on this stuff, but I just guess I can't bear to hand out cash to a company with nearly a 20 year record of what I would consider dubious business decisions.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

House Vote Puts Common Wage Law in Peril

Indiana AFL-CIO President
Brett Voorhies
Indiana's common construction wage law has served the state well for 80 years, but it's now up to the Indiana Senate to keep it from going by the wayside.

In another attack on working families, House Republicans voted 55-41 to kill the common construction wage law citing free market concerns.  It's such a bad idea that 13 Republicans joined with the Democrats in opposition.

AFL-CIO President Brett Voorhies put it far more eloquently than I can.  In a statement released yesterday, he said:

“With (yesterday)’s vote in the House of Representatives, the Republican supermajority has attacked the wages of working Hoosiers, a successful private sector business model and the autonomy of local governments. For decades the common construction wage has created a level playing field for contractors bidding on public projects, ensured skilled, local workers were hired and compensated appropriately and delivered world-class projects on time and on budget. In less than a week, following just one committee hearing, the representatives who supported House Bill 1019 have put this all at risk. 
We will continue to work with our coalition of locally elected officials from both parties, contractors and small business allies that actually do this work and our affiliated unions to stop this reckless attempt at repeal – and hope that this massive policy change is given more debate and deliberation in the State Senate.”

As Voorhies stated, the bill now moves over to the Senate side.  Democrats hold just 11 seats, so they will need 15 Republicans to join them to kill this bill if it makes it to the full Senate.

District 100 State Rep. Dan Forestal also had a great tweet illustrating what a bad idea this is for Hoosier workers.




Apparently, Rep. Forestal, your friends on the Republican side of the House aisle care more about ideology than reality.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Indy Snow Force Needs to Reexamine Six Inch Policy

As I was driving home yesterday from dinner, I noticed a City of Indianapolis plow going down Thompson Road (which was clear) pushing snow on the edge of the berm further back.  As I passed neighborhood streets, I noted what a treacherous disaster they looked like.  

While certainly it should be the aim of the city to consolidate its efforts on the main drags of Indy to clear away snow, it certainly wouldn't kill them to invest in maybe some equipment to help out the neighborhoods that aren't under the watchful eye of a homeowner's association.  

I tweeted Indy Snow Force yesterday about whether the neighborhood contractors would be activated.  The answer was no.  


Six inches is the limit.  At 5.9, you're out of luck.  At 6.1, it's apparently all good.

Now, I have news for you.  I had an appointment I could not break downtown on Saturday morning at 10:45.  I had to ask a friend of mine with a four wheel drive to pick me up and drop me off then bring me home.  With the 5.2 inches added on to the base of what was already there, I couldn't get my car out of the garage safely.  I still can't go to the end of my cul de sac.

Now, it would be absolutely ridiculous for me to expect the Indy Snow Force to have my cul de sac completely clean while it was snowing, but the snow stopped over 24 hours ago, and it appears we have time to clean already clean streets.

Before you accuse me of being a bleeding heart liberal on a spending frenzy, it seems that we get the money to do what we want to do in this city.  Instead of sending plows down those already clean streets the next day after a snow storm, why not retrofit several city pickup size trucks to help out the neighborhoods?  After all, 5.2 inches of snow at the airport might have been six somewhere in the city.  It's an arbitrary policy that needs to change.  

Hopefully it will when Joe Hogsett is Mayor.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Gregg Deserves Second Bite at Apple

John Gregg
In 2012, we were so close to preventing some of what's happening in Indiana.

We were so close to stopping the Mike Pence Express before it even got started, and we were so close to having at least some semblance of balance at the Statehouse.

Unfortunately, elections do have consequences and Mike Pence got a few more votes than John Gregg did in the 2012 General Election.  It was a surprisingly close election that saw Gregg close to within 3.2 percentage points on Election Night.  In August, some polls showed him 18 points behind.

The turnaround in Gregg's fortunes in the polls seemed to coincide with a change in tactic that saw Gregg go from a folksy campaign built around homespun commercials to a serious campaign that saw him dominate Pence in the debates and start to make his case as to why he would make a good Indiana Chief Executive.

Except for a brief time to take care of some family issues, Gregg hasn't really stopped running for Governor, and he told the Northwest Indiana Times that he'll make a decision about 2016 this spring.

I hope that John Gregg decides to run again.  It doesn't mean that he will survive a Primary if he's challenged, but I think he has probably the best chance of winning in 2016.  He's not liberal.  He doesn't carry a ton of baggage.  He already has name recognition, and he does have a record of working with Republicans when he was Speaker of the Indiana House.

He also knows Mike Pence, and I don't think that Gregg will hold anything back this time.  I would expect that Gregg might be Pence's worst nightmare of an opponent again in 2016.  I would assume that Gregg would target his attacks on Pence's vulnerabilities and there are plenty of them right now.

I'm not endorsing Gregg, and I will watch the race carefully.  I just think Gregg deserves a chance to finish what he nearly did in 2012.  That means to topple Mike Pence and stop his reign as Governor of Indiana.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

While Brewer Languishes, Hogsett Flourishes

Joe Hogsett
So far, for Joe Hogsett, campaign 2015 has been like a smoothly sailing ship on calm waters.

He will never acknowledge it, but, with an extraordinary effort, he's starting to put away this 2015 election before it even starts.

For starters, Hogsett's raised over $1 million in his campaign war chest and he still just keeps doing what he's doing, crisscrossing the county driving his own extremely modest car (you have to see it to believe it) and building a broad bi-partisan coalition.

Despite the strong start, Hogsett says at every campaign stop that he has a primary opponent and must win there first before getting to November.  "I'm taking nothing for granted," has become Hogsett's mantra even though his opponent, Larry Vaughn, can't match his dollars or his polish as a candidate.

The Republicans still haven't gotten their act together, and I'm not sure that they will.  It's just going to be harder and harder for Chuck Brewer to make inroads against the fully-functional Hogsett campaign the longer he's bogged down with his residency controversy.  Gary Welsh reported more on the story just yesterday on Advance Indiana.

The good news for Brewer is that the electorate is far from paying attention to this one.  Those that are paying attention are a little caught up with what's going on at the Indiana General Assembly.  Others won't start considering the Mayor's race until later this summer and fall.

I predict Hogsett's campaign will be doing laps around the competition, and it will still be fighting hard for every last vote and voter.

Still, it's impressive to see Hogsett, who could be sitting on his butt in an office right now making phone calls to gather support, out and about and aggressively going after this job across the city every day on a seemingly never-stop schedule.

Just imagine what it's going to be like when he's Mayor.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Stunning Portrait of Young Egyptian Who Turned to ISIS

This link takes you to an important piece by the New York Times.  It examines how a young person can change from regular, secular, well off kid to a member of ISIS in just a matter of a few years.

Islam Yaken, the young man profiled in the piece, ended up taking his own life in a suicide attack back in November.

Senate Passes Bill to Remove Ritz

As the Republicans continue to attempt to remove Glenda Ritz from her chair as the leader of the State Board of Education,  Mike Pence is really ramping up his rhetoric in this war of words between the state's chief executive and the state's schools chief.

Pence shared a "letter to the editor" on his Facebook campaign page that argued, in part, that the Superintendent of Public Instruction was not supposed to set policy.  That's really funny because that seems to be just about all Tony Bennett did when he was in that office.  He took Indiana education policy in a radically different direction from the past.  Of course, that set up the conditions that elected Glenda Ritz.

Governor Pence is on the offensive because he knows he is this close to pulling off a coup, and he's betting that voters don't care or won't be able to figure out what's happening.  He's treating Hoosiers as if they are stupid.  

They aren't.  Hoosiers see that Governor Pence wants control of the State Board of Education, and he can't do it without removing Glenda Ritz from the big chair.  Thus, he's trying to dig under the will of the 1.3 million voters that elected Ritz by marginalizing her role in state education policy.

Yesterday, he got another step closer to his ultimate goal with the Indiana Senate approving the change.

The talking points are easy.  Pence and his minions will say that they aren't taking any power from the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  They will say that they aren't even removing her from the seat as Chair of the Board of Education, but the truth of the matter is that the first opportunity they get, they'll pull Ritz and install a puppet that will do whatever the Governor and the leaders of the Indiana General Assembly want them to do.  

The system of checks and balances will be gone between the DOE, the General Assembly, and the Governor's Office.  The unmitigated ability to write education policy will be in the hands of the Governor, and the power-hungry Pence can feel the power just outside of his grasp.

Bill to Eliminate Straight Ticket Vote Moves On

Yesterday, the Indiana House voted to strike down straight-ticket voting in Indiana.  Yep, your tax dollars at work.

That means that if the Indiana Senate agrees, it will be just a little bit less easy to vote when you go to the polls in November.  You won't have that straight ticket ability any longer.  Instead, you'll have to go through and mark each office individually on your ballot.

Proponents say that this will cause Indiana voters to become more educated about the elections they vote in.  I believe this will contribute further to voter apathy and frustration at the poll.  I wouldn't want to be working the polls that day.  I can only imagine how annoying it will be to answer all those questions about the ballot change.

Frankly, as an informed voter that is willing to trudge through heck or high water to vote, this change means nothing to me.  I'll still vote for the candidates I want to vote for, and I would assume most of you that read this blog will too.

Where this will make a difference is for those voters that vote in the general election that may miss a couple of election cycles here or there.  It also may make a difference for those party activists that are determined to vote the party's slate whether it be Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian.

If this is a bill that matters to you, contact your legislator in the Indiana Senate and tell them to vote this one down.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Walker Fail: Residency Controversy Grows as Questions Mount for Brewer

Chuck Brewer
A Republican civil war is spilling over into a full blown campaign nightmare for Indy Republicans, and it's all of their own doing.

Despite holding the office, the best the Republicans could pull out of their ranks to run for Mayor is Chuck Brewer, a man we know little about.  Now, it appears a real controversy over his address is brew(er)ing, and it's not going away so easily.

Gary Welsh picked up the story over on his Advance Indiana blog.  His solid reporting on the subject became the basis for Jocelyn-Tandy Adande to file an official complaint with the Marion County Election Board over the residence issues.  You can read about the major issues on Welsh's blog.  It's very worthy of the few minutes to read it.  The Indy Star has also picked up on the story as did Amos Brown on his radio program.  It's a growing chorus.

The issue for Brewer and the Marion County Republican Party isn't that the story is growing.  Soon, I would expect someone at 4, 6, 8, 13, or 59 will be asking questions.  The story won't be going away.  It's just at some point that we're going to need some answers to an essential question.  The question is where does Chuck Brewer live, and how long has he lived there? Does he live in Perry Township at one of two addresses or downtown in a condominium at the Indianapolis Athletic Club?

Brewer insists that he no longer hangs his hat downtown, and the Republicans even sent out pictures last week "proving" that Brewer no longer lives in the condo at the Athletic Club.  It's on the market currently, and it has been for several months.  He's registered to vote at

That's fine.  I understand people move all the time.  People move from homes to apartments.  Heck, I did.  In fact, I got in way over my head on a house and ended up moving into an apartment.  It took me three years to transition back to a house.  I'm not a restaurateur or small business owner.  I'm also running for Council and not Mayor, but I'm ready to discuss the issue right now if someone asks me.  I'll be up front and honest.

Now, I'm sorry Chuck.  I know you probably didn't sign up for this.  You were talked into it in all likelihood.  Now, your personal business is all out in the open for everyone to see.  What we haven't seen is Chuck Brewer ready to discuss this issue.  He's not ready to answer questions, it appears.  He's not ready to sit down and introduce himself with any depth.

So far, I'd have to say the rollout of Brewer has been horrid for the Republicans.  Now, he has a real pickle to figure out since he's apparently claimed the homestead exemption on the downtown condo.  It's my understanding that's supposed to be on your primary residence only.  If he's not living downtown, then he should not be claiming the homestead exemption.

Now, Richard Mourdock got out from under that by claiming it was a mistake and an oversight and taking care of the issue.  We'll see what Brewer does.  This could end up being a much more expensive run for office than maybe even Mr. Brewer thought it would.

After these questions are answered, someone in Republican leadership should finally get around to doing what's necessary to call Kyle Walker on the carpet for this.  The Republican Chairman clearly didn't do his job in vetting Mr. Brewer or was so desperate he thought no one would push this residency issue.  With all the money and effort he's spent slapping down Jocelyn-Tandy Adande over the years, it's quite appropriate that she would be the one to expose what a poor job he did at candidate vetting 101.

He's your candidate now, Republicans, and Democrats didn't even have to lift a finger to have this surprise land right in their laps.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Republicans Continue to Make Education Policy Even Worse

When I read what was in Senate Bill 470, I was shocked.  I had to read it again just to make sure I understood it correctly.

Apparently, the bill states private schools accepting public voucher funds will no longer have to adhere to the ISTEP Testing guidelines and can use other national standardized tests in its place if the bill passes.  That's right, we now have a separate and unequal system of education in Indiana.

Public schools continue to get castigated by the Republican Party and Democrats that support the reform efforts.  They continue to undercut traditional public schools with bad legislation like that cited above.

You see, I believe in competition.  That's what the reformers always talk about.  They talk about parent choice.  When the voucher program was sold to the public, it was limited in scope and students had to come out of failing public schools.  Since then, the policy on vouchers has morphed and changed.  Eventually, the vouchers were made more available.  Then, students didn't have to attend public schools at all.  Now, with this latest bill, the testing is being changed so that it's different than from what public schools are forced to do.

I can tell people are watching the Republicans screw up education policy.  Even my non-political friends are now posting about Governor Pence and his colleagues in the General Assembly.  The Democrats that enable the Republicans had better watch out or be taken down with them.

We all want good, quality schools.  They can be in any form: traditional public, private, or public charter.  I just want the competition to be fair and straight up.

This new bill continues to be destructive to traditional public schools and those students that depend on them.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Brian Williams' Suspension Possibly Permanent

Brian Williams
Photo from NBC News
NBC Nightly News Managing Editor Brian Williams was suspended for six months with no pay on Tuesday as a result of his tall tale of false valor he told on the air a couple of weeks ago.

This six-month hiatus gives NBC a chance to see where the ratings-leading program goes.  If Lester Holt maintains the audience, then Williams likely becomes expendable at the end of the six month suspension.  He could be reassigned within NBC News or, more than likely, graciously shuffled aside for Holt or someone else.

Either way, I just get the feeling that we've probably seen the last NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, and I'm not the only one.

I've heard lots said about this story over the last few days.  Many have tried to minimize the story that got Williams in trouble because of the timing he cited during the War in Iraq.  I don't equate the two.

I'm not going to say that I've been right here 100 percent of the time.  When I've been wrong, I've either corrected the error or I've fixed the blog post.  I, however, am a small potatoes blogger in Indianapolis.  I'm not the Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News.

On Tuesday, T.J. Holmes, an ABC Anchor, spoke to a group of students at Ben Davis High School and was asked his opinion.  He said that while he didn't know Brian Williams that this incident really tarnished Williams image especially since he's the face of NBC News, and it was about something having to do with the military.  He said that it would be difficult for Williams to come back, and I agree.

As you may be aware, these "false valor" reports have become somewhat of a YouTube sensation lately.  You can't be the face of NBC News and have a false valor report following you around.

We'll see what happens in August.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Redundant State Protection of Religion not Needed

Religion is under attack Indiana, so it only makes sense that the Indiana General Assembly would take time to make sure it is protected.

Wait...did I write that?

Sorry, I've been reading right-wing talking points for too long, but, unfortunately, this is Indiana where right-wing talking points are often mistaken for solid public policy.  It appears that the Indiana General Assembly is perhaps poised to consider passing laws to protect the free exercise of religion...even though the Constitution of the United States already does so.

Redundant.  Stupid.

Of course much of this so-called need to protect religion goes back to the court decision allowing same-sex marriage.  Right-wing culture vultures point to this as the busting of society's seams.  They don't want to have to make the "gay wedding cake" if they don't want to, etc.

Here's my question...the First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
 Where are the protections for those folks that DO NOT want to exercise a religion?  After all, this is who the First Amendment appears to be trying to protect.  It's telling Congress that it cannot establish a religion or prohibit someone from exercising theirs.

Seems to me that these religious folks are getting all the protection under Indiana law.  Not sure that's what our founders intended.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

House Vote Shows Republicans Eager to Remove Ritz

Superintendent of Public Instruction
Glenda Ritz
With one simple vote, Republicans in the Indiana House began the process to remove a lot of Glenda Ritz's power.

The 58-40 decision means that the Republicans need only pass the same bill in the Indiana Senate where they hold all but 11 out of the 100 seats.  It's going to pass there, and Ritz, the only elected member of the State Board of Education, will no longer chair the all-appointed committee once the Governor signs the bill into law.

It was a bold move by the Indiana House.  All weekend, Ritz supporters took to social media to defend the candidate they voted into office with 1.3 million votes.  #iStandWithiRitz was trending and the supporters worked the phones.  

Republicans argue that Ritz's leadership of the SBOE was unsteady and politically-driven.  In reality, the move to strip her from power could not be any more political.  The only Democrat in an executive office has now seen the process  begin to roll back the power she has.

In reality, the Republicans may have just created a monster.  They've awakened the sleeping beast that was the Glenda Ritz movement.  

Monday, February 9, 2015

It's All Part of the Experience, I Guess...

Your Candidates...
Photo Courtesy Eddie Barnes for Council
Saturday's Pre-Primary Convention was one of the most interesting events I have attended in my life.  It was my first big get together of Democrats as an official candidate for City-County Council.

My morning began about 7:15 a.m. with my alarm.  I woke up, showered, and got ready.  The first big decision was to go with the casual look or to go with the suit.  I decided to suit up, so I selected my navy blue suit, a tan shirt, a tan and green plaid tie, and my "tall shoes" even though, at 6'4", I really don't need to be taller.

I hit Mickey-D's for some early morning sustenance and then decided that I couldn't appear at the event with a dirty car, so I went to Crew Car Wash on East St.  Unfortunately, it appeared that the rest of Indianapolis had the same idea, so I waited a while in that line.  In the process, I managed to dump some Diet Coke on my shirt.  No worries...the jacket will cover it, and it did.

Finally, with the car washed and the Diet Coke incident cleaned up, I arrived at Primo's Banquet Hall on the Southside.  As I stepped out of the car, I realized that I had managed to find the only patch of snow in the parking lot.  I chuckled.  Walking to the door, I ran into Marion County Surveyor Debbie Jenkins, her friend Gary Pierson, and Perry Township Democratic Club President Luis Diaz.  It was nice to run into some of my friends right off the bat.

Inside the hall, I found a few more of my friends from Decatur Township, and I shook a ton of hands.  I met a couple of readers of my blog, caught up with Jackson Blanchard, and I talked a little shop with Zach Adamson.  I also talked with Patrick Lockhart and Blake Johnson...neither of whom I had seen for months.  Elected officials seemed to be everywhere, and I tried to say hello to everyone I could.  I came across Angela Mansfield, and we had a brief chat about her decision.  I also sought out Leroy Robinson to wish him luck.  We had a good conversation.

At that point, it was time to move into the convention floor.  Chairman Joel Miller, who I had talked to in the politicking area earlier, gave a rousing welcome speech and handed out awards.  Luis Diaz received one of them for his work in Perry Township, and Billie Breaux was presented an award for her long service to Marion County, the State of Indiana, and the Democratic Party.

My friend Andre Carson was next at the podium, and he paid tribute to great Democrats past and talked about where we are going in the future.  He gave way to President Maggie Lewis who was given the task of introducing Joe Hogsett.  Hogsett gave a passionate speech about quelling violence in our city as well as the bright future of the city.

There were a few more things that happened of course, but the most awesome moment for me was hearing Chairman Miller put my name into nomination to be the preferred candidate for City-County Council in District 20.  My Congressman was chanting my name, and I was truly honored by the number of people that applauded for me.

Before you knew it, everything was over, and we were taking pictures on the stage.  I've seen that scene so many times before from the other side of the camera, and it was quite odd to be one of the candidates for office.  I'm standing there just feet away from Hogsett and Lewis and Adamson and people that I've looked up to or reported on for years here.  It was surreal.

That was my Saturday morning.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Robinson vs. Mansfield, Post-Convention Thoughts

Leroy Robinson
Yesterday, the Marion County Democratic Party held its pre-primary aka "slating" convention, and it had its critics.

In the past, I've criticized the process, and I believe that there are some things that need to be changed, but much of that change has to come from within.  For example, I'd like to see more people representing their home precincts on the "slating" floor.  That means that there either needs to be a change in practice where only people from a certain precinct can be appointed OR that more people need to step up and run for election when the precinct committeepersons are up.  If the convention went away altogether, I wouldn't mind, but it's still a way for a political party to fund its activities and campaigns by collecting money from its candidates.

I did sign the slating agreement, and I intend to abide by it.
Thus, in District 1, I will be supporting Leroy Robinson in the Primary by my agreement with the Marion County Democratic Party to support the preferred candidates.  I told both Angela and Leroy this face-to-face at the convention on Saturday, and they both understood. I also want you to know that I completely understand why Angela is doing what she's doing, and while I support Leroy, I won't criticize Angela. 

Angela Mansfield
Councillor Mansfield has served her district with a great deal of respect from both sides of the aisle since 2004.  She's one of the most veteran voices on the Council, and there's a reason for that.  She provides excellent constituent service, and she has the heart of a servant.  The problem becomes when we demonize people for running against the slated candidates, and some will do that.  I won't, and you shouldn't either.  You can agree to disagree with her decision, and you can either vote for or against her because of it.  

Let's not forget what created the conditions for all of this mess to begin with, Senate Enrolled Act 621, the Republican Power Grab which made Greg Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis, one of the strongest executives in the entire state.  It also did away with the four at-large countywide seats and forced those Councillors to make a choice.  John Barth stepped aside.  Kip Tew and Pam Hickman filled two open Democratic slots in Districts 2 and 3.  Now, we can criticize Leroy for moving into District 1, but it's the move he thought he needed to make to continue to serve on the Council and to serve his constituency.

At the end of the day, I hope that whether Leroy wins or Angela wins that Democrats can come together and move forward.  Under the leadership of Council President Maggie Lewis and the promise of a new mayor like Joe Hogsett, I think a bright future is ahead for Indianapolis.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

May Primary Filings Close...

Updating the filings for Mayor of Indianapolis as of the filing deadline, February 6

Democrat
Joseph Hadden Hogsett
Larry Lavern Vaughn

Republican
Jocelyn-Tandy T. Adande
Charles Brewer
Terry L. Michael
Darrell Eugene Morris
Byron Lawrence Shouse

Updating the filings for City-County Council as of the filing deadline, February 6.

District 1
Angela Lynn Mansfield (D)*
Leroy Robinson (D)*

District 2
William David Bowser (R)
Colleen Fanning (R)
Kipper V. Tew (D)*

District 3
Timothy Rutledge Craft (R)
Pamela Louise Hickman (D)*
Christine Edith Scales (R)*

District 4
Michael McQuillen (R)*
Raymond Jason Biederman (D)

District 5
Curtis Wesley Bigsbee (D)
Jeffery William Coats (R)

District 6
Joseph Brendan Baker (R)
Francisco Robert Islas (D)
Janice Shattuck McHenry (R)*

District 7
Joseph Edward Simpson (D)*

District 8
Floyd Sedor Covington (D)
Monroe Gray (D)*

District 9
William C. Oliver (D)*

District 10
Maggie Ann Lewis (D)*

District 11
Vop Osili (D)*

District 12
Robert Blake Johnson (D)
Susan Marie Smith (R)

District 13
Stephen J. Clay (D)*
Terri Miller-Penquite (R)

District 14
La Keisha Danyse Jackson (D)*

District 15
Marilyn Pfisterer (R)*
Christopher Ryan Wall (D)

District 16
Jeffrey Grant Miller (R)*
Emily Armonia Shrock (D)

District 17
Zachary W. Adamson (D)*
Sally Spiers (R)

District 18
Edwin Joseph Barnes (D)
Susie Cordi (R)

District 19
Benjamin David Hunter (R)*
David Michael Ray (D)
John Edward Redmond (D)

District 20
Jon Eric Easter (D)
Jason Holliday (R)*

District 21
Anthony Paul Davidson (R)
Frank Mascari (D)*

District 22
Jared Nathaniel Evans (D)
Robert B. Lutz (R)*
Stephanie Nicole Vibbert (D)

District 23
Scott Alan Kreider (R)

District 24
Jack E. Sandlin (R)*

District 25
Aaron Freeman (R)*
Jeffrey Todd Wheeler (D)

*-Denotes incumbent

Note: These are the filings for the May Primary.

For a complete listing of the entire 2015 May Primary filing list, please see this article from the Indy Star.

Tony Bennett Takes Out Glenda Ritz?

Former Supt. of Public Instruction
Tony Bennett
Oh politics.

The former Superintendent of Public Instruction, whose policies and politics were repudiated by the voters in 2012, is back in Indiana.  He's reportedly consulting with a group called Hoosiers for Quality Education.

That group has spent tons of money and has worked tirelessly to lessen the influence of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz.  Some campaign cash has even gone the way of Ritz's opponents from HQE's PAC in the past including towards Republican Education Chair Bob Behning.

It's quite a world we live in when you can be so disgraced but come back smelling like a rose enough to take out the one that started your downfall.  I suppose this is a bit Shakespearean.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Where Do We Go From Here...What Happens to the Blog?

Some people may be surprised that I took a position on District 1, and that's fine.  I'm sure it probably cost me some friends and some favors down the line.  I could have easily said nothing, and that may have been the right thing to do.

That's just not me.

Let me be very clear.  Whatever slate or selected candidates come out of the chute on Saturday morning, I will be supporting that slate.  If anyone decides to go against the slate, I will cover the race from a journalistic standpoint and continue to provide feedback and political analysis, but I will support the slate.

I have built this blog for seven years, and I'm going to continue it.  I can't run from it or anything that I've written on it over the last seven years.  It was one of the concerns I had about running, but I will continue to give honest opinion, strong analysis, and a perspective from the left of the political spectrum here in Marion County.  It's what you have come to expect as a reader since 2008.

The City-County Council race is something I will be a part of in 2015, and I'm looking forward to it.  It's going to be on the front burner, so I can't ignore the fight for control of the Council.

Let's just get one thing straight so there's no misunderstanding.  Please understand that what I write here does not represent anyone's opinion but my own.  Take it for what it's worth.

Indy Democrat Endorses Mansfield for City-County Council in District 1

Councillor Angela Mansfield
I'm not a resident of City-County Council District 1, and I have no vote for this district's City-County Council seat at the Marion County Democratic Party Slating Pre-Primary Convention on Saturday morning.

I do believe it's important that I don't silently stand by without expressing my opinion as to which individual I believe is best suited to serve this area of Marion County.  In that regard, Democrats in District 1 have a choice between two sitting City-County Councillors.

Both of these City-County Councillors can point to accomplishments and neither is afraid to be controversial, but one stands out for her approach to the job.  This Councillor has served constituents with distinction and is often listed as one of the most respected and hardest working individuals on the city's legislative body even by those working against her or those on the other side.  

If I had a vote to select a preferred candidate on Saturday in District 1, I would vote for City-County Councillor Angela Mansfield.

This is nothing personal against Councillor Leroy Robinson.  I believe he is a bright and strong candidate with a future role to play in the shaping of this city.  I just believe that Mansfield's past history as a district-level Councillor and her distinguished record shows that she deserves another term on the Council.  

She's not been afraid to face the tough issues.  Mansfield was one of the chief supporters of the comprehensive smoking ban which was long overdue in this city.  Recently, Mansfield took on Mayor Greg Ballard and Republican Chair Kyle Walker directly on Ballard's latest attempt to raise property taxes and won.

Councillor Leroy Robinson
I've defended Robinson on this blog.  I believe his work on the issue of homelessness in our city is something very commendable, but I honestly believe that his philosophy is much more suited to that of the At-Large seat he holds now and much less suited to that of being a district Councillor.  Mansfield has that down to a science.  Without an At-Large seat to sit in right now, Robinson is stuck battling for this district seat.

It was a battle of his own choice as well.  As previously mentioned in other posts, Robinson could have chosen any number of districts.  He chose to move to a district where another successful Democrat already lived.  I believe it was a miscalculation on his part.

The City-County Council also has lost female councillors at an alarming rate over the last few years.  There are just nine sitting female Councillors today with Mary Moriarty Adams leaving the Council at the end of her term.  

Don't cast your vote on that, however.  Cast your vote at the pre-primary convention because Angela Mansfield deserves it.  She's not only qualified, but she has the experience being a district Councillor one can count on to represent the newly-drawn District 1 with excellence into the future.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Filing Deadline for 2015 May Primary Rapidly Approaching


Updating the filings for City-County Council through Monday, Feb. 3.

Still no filings from incumbents John Barth or Marilyn Pfisterer and only today, tomorrow and Friday to file.

District 1
Angela Lynn Mansfield (D)*
Leroy Robinson (D)*

District 2
William David Bowser (R)

Colleen Fanning (R)
Kipper V. Tew (D)*

District 3
Timothy Rutledge Craft (R)
Pamela Louise Hickman (D)*
Christine Edith Scales (R)*

District 4
Michael McQuillen (R)*

District 5
Curtis Wesley Bigsbee (D)
Jeffery William Coats (R)

District 6
Joseph Brendan Baker (R)
Francisco Robert Islas (D)
Janice Shattuck McHenry (R)*

District 7
Joseph Edward Simpson (D)*

District 8
Monroe Gray (D)*

District 9
William C. Oliver (D)*

District 10
Maggie Ann Lewis (D)*

District 11
Vop Osili (D)*

District 12
Robert Blake Johnson (D)
Susan Marie Smith (R)

District 13
Stephen J. Clay (D)*

District 14
La Keisha Danyse Jackson (D)*

District 15
No Candidates Filed

District 16
Jeffrey Grant Miller (R)*
Emily Armonia Shrock (D)

District 17
Zachary W. Adamson (D)*

District 18
Edwin Joseph Barnes (D)
Susie Cordi (R)

District 19
Benjamin David Hunter (R)*
David Michael Ray (D)
John Edward Redmond (D)

District 20
Jon Eric Easter (D)
Jason Holliday (R)*

District 21
Anthony Paul Davidson (R)
Frank Mascari (D)*

District 22
Jared Nathaniel Evans (D)
Robert B. Lutz (R)*

District 23
Scott Alan Kreider (R)

District 24
Jack E. Sandlin (R)*

District 25
Aaron Freeman (R)*
Jeffrey Todd Wheeler (D)

*-Denotes incumbent
  • Note: These are the filings for the May Primary.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mayors Jessup, Buckley File for Reelection

Mayor Dean Jessup
Mayor Dennis Buckley
While the filings for City-County Council and Indianapolis Mayor have gotten much of the attention, two other Marion County Mayors have filed for reelection after successful first terms.

Mayor Dean Jessup of Lawrence and Mayor Dennis Buckley of Beech Grove will attempt to win second terms in office.

Jessup has been a stabilizing factor in Lawrence politics.  With steady leadership, he stands as a favorite to win a second term.  Neither Deborah Cantwell nor Paul Ricketts could convince the voters of Lawrence to give them a second bite at the apple.  Republicans slated Steve Collier to run against Jessup.  Two other candidates have filed for the Primary as well.  Democrat Linda Treat and Republican Lana Schneider.  Treat is a City Council member, and Schneider is a member of the well-known Schneider family.  Tom Schneider was Mayor of Lawrence for some 20 years.

On the Southside, 2011 saw Democrats reclaim the Mayor's Office, and Dennis Buckley is the big favorite to retain the seat.  Buckley's first term in office has been largely dealing with cleaning up the mismanagement of the Republican mayors that preceded him.  Edward McDonald is the Republican slated to take on Buckley in November.

Both Buckley and Jessup have done great work in their first four years and more than deserve reelection to another four years in 2015.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Many Questions Left for Last Few Days of City-County Council Primary Election Filing

The remaining few days here in the filing cycle for the 2015 Primary Election could provide some very interesting surprises.

First of all, in District 1, Jose Evans has decided to move on down the road and not to run for reelection.  If you remember, his defection from the Democratic to the Republican Party drew all sorts of interest even bringing in Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus.  So far, no Republicans have filed to retain this seat.  Two incumbent Democrats will fight at Saturday's slating convention to see who will be the Democratic Party choice.  Recent move-in, Leroy Robinson, will battle Councillor Angela Mansfield, a longtime resident of the new District 1.

It also appears that District 2 incumbent Will Gooden will move on.  Colleen Fanning is listed as the Republican Party's slated candidate in that district. William David Bowser, another Republican, is filed to challenge Fanning, and Kip Tew, a candidate with tremendous fundraising abilities, will in all likelihood be the slated Democrat in the district. Tew is now the only incumbent in the race for District 2.

Incumbent Christine Scales is under attack from her own party.  Republicans have slated Tim Craft to try to take out Scales.  Pam Hickman, an incumbent Councillor by virtue of her At-Large seat, will try to move to the district seat as her At-Large seat (like Robinson's and Tew's) is being phased out by Senate Enrolled Act 621.

It appears Virginia Cain is moving on as well.  The longtime Councillor was not slated and has yet to file for reelection.  Jeff Coats is her seeming replacement in District 5.  One of the newest incumbents did not file for reelection, either. Jefferson Shreve would be in District 16, but he's not slated and hasn't filed for the Primary.  In District 15, Incumbent Republican Marilyn Pfisterer is slated, but she has yet to file.

Perhaps the biggest question is what will John Barth do?  The Council Vice President and At-Large incumbent must file as a district Councillor or move on.  If he files, he will have to file against Joe Simpson given the address on his filings with the Marion County Election Board.  That could set up another incumbent vs. incumbent free-for-all.

Of course, I'll try to keep you updated!

City-County Council Filings through February 2

Updating the filings for City-County Council through Monday, Feb. 2.

District 1
Angela Lynn Mansfield (D)*
Leroy Robinson (D)*

District 2
William David Bowser (R)
Colleen Fanning (R)
Kipper V. Tew (D)*

District 3
Timothy Rutledge Craft (R)
Pamela Louise Hickman (D)*
Christine Edith Scales (R)*

District 4
Michael McQuillen (R)*

District 5
Curtis Wesley Bigsbee (D)
Jeffery William Coats (R)

District 6
Joseph Brendan Baker (R)
Francisco Robert Islas (D)
Janice Shattuck McHenry (R)*

District 7
Joseph Edward Simpson (D)*

District 8
Monroe Gray (D)*

District 9
William C. Oliver (D)*

District 10
Maggie Ann Lewis (D)*

District 11
Vop Osili (D)*

District 12
Robert Blake Johnson (D)
Susan Marie Smith (R)

District 13
Stephen J. Clay (D)*

District 14
La Keisha Danyse Jackson (D)*

District 15
No Candidates Filed

District 16
Jeffrey Grant Miller (R)*
Emily Armonia Shrock (D)

Miller currently is listed by the Election Board as having filed in 15, but he says that his writing may have been misread by the Election Board.  He lives in Precinct 15-02 which is in 16.  I assume a correction is forthcoming.  Thus, I placed him in the correct district.

District 17
Zachary W. Adamson (D)*

District 18
Edwin Joseph Barnes (D)
Susie Cordi (R)

District 19
Benjamin David Hunter (R)*
David Michael Ray (D)

District 20
Jon Eric Easter (D)
Jason Holliday (R)*

District 21
Anthony Paul Davidson (R)
Frank Mascari (D)*

District 22
Jared Nathaniel Evans (D)
Robert B. Lutz (R)*

District 23
Scott Alan Kreider (R)

District 24
Jack E. Sandlin (R)*

District 25
Aaron Freeman (R)*
Jeffrey Todd Wheeler (D)

*-Denotes incumbent
Note: These are the filings for the May Primary.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Updated City-County Council Filings through Jan. 30

Updating the filings for City-County Council through Friday, January 30.

District 1
Angela Lynn Mansfield (D)*
Leroy Robinson (D)*

District 2
William David Bowser (R)
Kipper V. Tew (D)*

District 3
Pamela Louise Hickman (D)*
Christine Edith Scales (R)*

District 4
No Candidates Filed

District 5
Curtis Wesley Bigsbee (D)
Jeffery William Coats (R)

District 6
Joseph Brendan Baker (R)
Francisco Robert Islas (D)
Janice Shattuck McHenry (R)*

District 7
Joseph Edward Simpson (D)*

District 8
Monroe Gray (D)*

District 9
William C. Oliver (D)*

District 10
Maggie Ann Lewis (D)*

District 11
Vop Osili (D)*

District 12
Robert Blake Johnson (D)

District 13
Stephen J. Clay (D)*

District 14
La Keisha Danyse Jackson (D)*

District 15
No Candidates Filed

District 16
Emily Armonia Shrock (D)

District 17
Zachary W. Adamson (D)*

District 18
Edwin Joseph Barnes (D)

District 19
Benjamin David Hunter (R)*
David Michael Ray (D)

District 20
Jon Eric Easter (D)

District 21
Frank Mascari (D)*

District 22
Jared Nathaniel Evans (D)

District 23
No Candidates Filed

District 24
No Candidates Filed

District 25
Jeffrey Todd Wheeler (D)