Monday, March 20, 2017

Brewer Takes Chance on Reality TV

Former Mayor Candidate
Chuck Brewer
I was perusing my Facebook wall this morning when I saw local activist Evan McMahon's post on a new CNBC Show.

"I was watching previews for The Partner, on CNBC, and thinking 'man that guy looks familiar'. Well he should, it's former Indy Mayoral candidate and owner of both Soupremacy and Potbelly, Chuck Brewer," wrote McMahon.

Inspired to do a Google search, I found the show's web page.  Sure enough.  There's the first contestant, Chuck Brewer.

In his contestant video, Brewer highlights his military service and his success in business.  He talks about selling off his Potbelly franchise and continuing to work with his own concept, Soupremacy.  Again, it doesn't tap into his personal life too much other than he's a father.  It also doesn't mention anything about him running unsuccessfully for Mayor of Indianapolis.

Nevertheless, Chuck Brewer impressed many with his run in 2015, and I wish him the best on the reality show.

Monday, March 13, 2017

What's Up With the Blog?

I've been pretty sporadic about posting lately, and I apologize.

I need to get back on the blogging horse, but it's not probably going to happen over the next couple of weeks.  I have some busy times ahead followed by a two-week vacation and a good friend coming into town.

Thus, I'll post whenever something gets my dander flying, as my grandmother used to say, so stay tuned.  As always, I appreciate your patience when I go on these "sabbaticals".

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hogsett Building Strong Relationships Across Aisle

Mayor Hogsett and Governor Holcomb share
a laugh at a jobs announcement
Photo courtesy of Twitter
As President, Barack Obama was widely known as “No Drama Obama”. The circus took over on January 20, and the poo hasn’t stopped being flung.  In Washington, we could use a little less drama these days. 

Thankfully, here in Indianapolis, we have our own version of “No Drama Obama” and that’s Joe Hogsett. 

 His smoothly sailing ship has yet to hit an iceberg in this city, and he’s just done it by going about his business and doing the work.

Hogsett has barely hit a speed bump with most of the City-County Council. Sure, there’s a renegade few on the body, but they are largely hidden by a strong relationship that Hogsett has built with the Republican side of the aisle. 

The Republicans like Hogsett…even when they have to criticize him. If you don’t believe me, pull aside one of the Republicans and ask them. The Mayor has reached out across the aisle and has listened to their concerns.
Republicans feel more listened to than they did under Greg Ballard. Again, if you don’t believe me, ask them in a private moment.  Sure, you'll get the pushback from time to time that politics requires, but it's half-hearted pushback at best.  You won't see Joe Hogsett yelling down a Republican member of the Council.
When you think about it, the drama that existed between the Council and the Mayor’s Office is largely gone. Part of that is partisan, sure. It doesn’t go unnoticed that Hogsett is a Democrat with a 14-11 majority on the City-County Council, but one only has to look back about 10 years to see the dysfunction between Democrats that led to a Republican snap back as they took back the Mayor’s Office and the Council in 2007. 

Maggie Lewis is a very capable Council President, and she’s more comfortable ever in that position. With Zach Adamson in the Vice President’s role and Mike McQuillen leading the opposition, the Council seems to have found a sweet spot where it’s getting things done for the city and putting good proposals on the Mayor’s desk for his signature.

As we reach halftime of this Mayor’s first term, it’s hard to see a snapback coming. Jim Merritt was a good choice for the Republicans to lead their sinking ship in Marion County. If anyone can plug their holes, he can. Kate Sweeney Bell is also a great choice for Democrats moving forward. She will be a strong chair, and, as Hogsett’s choice to succeed Joel Miller, ensures there will be tranquility in the party, as much as there can be for Democrats, anyway.

There are lots of problems for the City of Indianapolis to solve, and the Republicans and Democrats in city government are going to have to continue to be a model for other governmental agencies to continue to get things fixed here in our city.

Even though it’s bad for my blog, I love the “No Drama” philosophy.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Haltime at the Statehouse

We've reached halftime of the Indiana General Assembly session.

I believe John Mellencamp accompanied by Billy Joel is the halftime show.  Sit back and relax and watch...

In all seriousness, the Indianapolis Business Journal or "IBJ" published this excellent list of the bills still wandering the halls of the House and Senate Chambers.  The piece also discusses some of the implications of these bills.

Everything from an abortion bill that could conceivably give rights to perpetrators of incest to a bill that would explicitly allow student-led school prayer are still living as the House takes up the Senate's bills and vice versa.

Hat tip to Indy Politics and their daily e-mail for drawing our attention to the excellent work by the IBJ.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pence Hypocritical on E-mail Mess

Mike Pence would have you believe his e-mail flap is no big deal and that it doesn't compare to Hillary Clinton's e-mail scandal.

Truth of the matter, like Hillary Clinton, Pence was trying to conduct business in a busy world.  Clinton set up her private server at home so she could do the work of Secretary of State from there, and there's no question that Mike Pence was doing the same thing.

Sitll, it's hypocritical for Pence to have criticized Clinton for her use of a private e-mail to conduct work business while he was doing the same thing.  People are right to call him out for this duplicity on this issue.

The fact that some ID thief was able to stumble in and hack the Governor's America Online account without really even knowing what he or she did makes it kind of funny. There's no evidence Hillary Clinton's private server was hacked.

The Star's Tony Cook's expose from last week hit hard at the Vice President, but it still didn't shine the excrement that was Donald Trump's incredibly bad and horrible week.  Pence's e-mail scandal is minute compared to the continuing Trump Administration's mess with Russia.  That's an onion that keeps unpeeling.

Pence was hacked, and he used a private e-mail account to conduct state business.  Knowing these two things, he continued to criticize Hillary Clinton.  That makes him a hypocrite...with a capital H.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mass Transit Tax Passes

At last night's City-County Council meeting, the mass transit tax was approved by a 17-8 vote.

Both sides of the vote can claim a bi-partisan flavor.

I have made no bones about being against this mass transit plan.  I think it shortchanges major parts of Indianapolis including much of the Southside.  The individual votes of the councillors kind of covered where the mass transit plan would or would make improvements.  All four southern-tier Councillors voted no joined by Stephen Clay, Christine Scales, and Susie Cordi.  The eighth vote came from Jeff Coats on the city's northeast corner.

Now that the tax has passed, I'll gladly pass over the dollars to the city (like I have a choice...I'm not leaving).  I know that this plan will make a difference for many.  I just wish that instead of the top sirloin that we could have explored the filet mignon.

My biggest beef (no pun intended) has always been that this plan doesn't take into account the mass transit situation in the southern tier of townships.  Decatur and Franklin are hardly touched by the plan yet residents in those communities (like me) will pass over our tax dollars for nothing in service.

I'm done complaining.  I'll just hope that someday I can use safe, efficient mass transit here in Decatur Township without taking extraordinary measures to do it.  I'm not going to hold my breath.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Thank YOU Joel Miller

Chairman Joel Miller
Photo Courtesy of Facebook
Joel Miller and I have been friends for a long time. That's why it's a funny feeling writing this.  For, this isn't a political obituary.  This is just a thank you for all he's done.

As reported here and elsewhere, the big fella, the grand poobah of the Marion County Democratic Party, our Chairman, is stepping aside, and we'll get a new head coach as of March 4.  If all goes as planned, that new Chair will be Kate Sweeney Bell who I've known for just about as long as Joel.

I believe I first met Joel when he was the Executive Director of the Marion County Democatic Party.  He was a guy about my age, and we hit it off from the start.  Joel is funny, and he has some great stories.  My journalist side was immediately drawn to those great stories.

Over time, our friendship has remained rock solid.  When I thought about running for State Senate, I made a few phone calls, and Joel was one of them.  He advised me to run and "Kick Mike Young's ass."  I probably should have, but I wasn't ready for primetime then.

Eventually, Joel became the Chairman of the Marion County Democratic Party, and I was, for a while, the only left-leaning blogger in town writing about politics.  Never once has Joel told me what to write here.  Now, I know he reads it because I've gotten phone calls on rare occasions he has disagreed with me.  That's only happened maybe two times in four years.  Joel's been extremely good with me, and always has made himself available for a comment when I've needed it.  I appreciate that access to the Party Chair.

Finally, I'll never forget this.  I have run for office twice here in Decatur Township and on the Southwest side.  I didn't worry my opponent either time.  In fact, it was quite clear that I wasn't going to even be competitive from the early returns.  Still, Joel made it a point to come to me after my City-County Council race looked discouraging and tell me how proud he was that I got over 38 percent of the vote and had exceeded my baseline vote.  It was a moment I will remember to hear my friend and my party chairman say, "I'm proud of you, brother. Good run."

So, thanks Joel. Thanks for being a great Marion County Democratic Party Chairman.  In just four years, you've managed to accomplish much.  Through your leadership and hard work, Marion County continues to lead the way for the Indiana Democratic Party.  You've left things in great shape.  Take a couple of hours off and then get right back to work.  We need you in this fight, and I will look forward to covering whatever you decide to do next.