Friday, January 30, 2015

Republicans May Want to Pump Brakes on Taking Out Ritz

Superintendent Glenda Ritz
Glenda Ritz.

A national board-certified teacher who has become a lightning rod for Republican ire and quotes like this from Senate President Pro Tem, David Long, "In all fairness, Superintendent Ritz was a librarian, ok?"

She's so controversial that they have so nakedly attempted to pull her from power that they might have left their big old butts in the air waiting to be bitten in the end.

My apologies for the vivid image there, but Glenda Ritz is becoming a politician Democrats and even some disgruntled Republicans can rally around.  That makes her a big time danger to a properly-quaffed Governor named Mike who wants to maybe run for higher office someday.

In true Obi-Wan fashion, the Vader-like Republicans are making Glenda Ritz more powerful than they could ever imagine by removing her power.  They are perhaps turning her into a viable candidate for Governor.

Now, I understand we are a long way away from Glenda Ritz raising her right hand and becoming the state's highest executive, but you can't deny that the best thing for a Ritz campaign of the future would be the continued lack of respect she's being shown by those in power.  With a smart campaign manager and political advisers, she could turn this rollback of the voters' will in 2012 into an underdog's campaign of revolution in 2016.

If that happens, Pence, David Long and their cronies need only look in the all fairness, ok.

It's worth thinking about as we go forward, and it might be time for Republicans to think about it, too.

Ritz Seems Likely to Lose Power over State Board

Glenda Ritz
Superintendent of Public Instruction
The move to strip Glenda Ritz of all meaningful power and roll back the 2012 election results is nearly done in the Indiana Statehouse.

Republican legislators say that the move to allow the State Board of Education, an unelected board of political appointees, to name their own leader rather than the Superintendent of Public Instruction is not political, but I think that's not going to pass the manure test.

In Indiana, we know the smell of manure.  When you're driving around on a summer afternoon, there's nothing worse than getting stuck behind a truck full of it.  There's absolutely no way other than rolling up the windows and turning on the A/C that you can hope to avoid it.  In that case, the Republican party line wouldn't even stop smelling.

This is shifting the politics.  That's all.  It shifts control from the person Hoosiers elected to run the unelected board of political appointees to an unelected person from those political appointees who only serves at the pleasure of the Governor.  Other than beating the Governor at the ballot box, there's no way to hit reset on the state's education policy, and these kinds of things often get lost in the minutiae of many larger issues.

You've heard it here before, Glenda Ritz received more votes than Governor Pence did.  This is the way the Republicans have tried to put reformers like Tony Bennett back in the seat of educational power in Indiana.  Hell, you might as well go ahead and hire him back.

That's where we're going in education policy in this state, and you can thank the so-called "Democrats" who are on the board along with the Republicans at the Statehouse.  Teachers won't like this move if the Republicans insist on continuing with it.  Neither will Hoosier voters.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

McHenry's Road to Reelection Will Not Be Easy

Incumbent Janice McHenry has a challenger from her side of the aisle who is filed in District 6, and a Democrat has filed in the district, too.
The Westside Republican, who is running for a third-term on the Council, will face fellow Republican Joseph Baker in the Primary and, so far, Francisco Islas in the fall.  McHenry, of course, drew the ire of many Democrats when she testified against keeping the At-Large City-County Councillors during the SEA 621 debate by saying that the four countywides were "anonymous" and unknown to their constituents.

My friend, Paul Ogden, has stated in the past that McHenry is good at retail politics, and you can expect her to work the district hard.  She will have to.  While it does contain areas she currently represents, it also seems to have been expanded to include areas to the north and south of her current boundaries.  District 6 appears to be represented by Democrats Ed Delaney, Karlee Macer, and Vanessa Summers in the Indiana House.

Democrat Francisco Islas is filed in the district.  If you believe the maps and the numbers, Islas will give McHenry all she wants in that district.  Hopefully, he elects to work the district as hard as McHenry will.

I still think it would have been funny if Leroy Robinson, one of those At-Large Councillors she railed against, would have filed against her in the 2015 election.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

District 1 Features Clash of Incumbents

In City-County Council District 1, two Democratic incumbents have filed to run, and it's sending shockwaves across Marion County.

City-County Councillor Angela Mansfield represents about 40 percent of the new District 1 currently, and she finds herself paired against Leroy Robinson who had to find a district to run in because his At-Large seat was legislated out of existence.  Robinson recently moved to District 1, Indy Democrat sources say.  Under the new state law, you only have to live in the City-County Council district you represent for a year before taking office.   According to filings with the Marion County Election Board, Robinson moved from District 10 to District 1.  Expected to file in District 10 is City-County Council President Maggie Lewis.

As far as District 1 goes, Mansfield is the much more established Councillor in the area, and she's earned a reputation of working hard for her constituents.  It's kind of perplexing to me why Robinson would decide to challenge Mansfield, but he has done so and appears to be going through with the challenge.  Robinson could have decided to move West and battle Janice McHenry or South and take on Marilyn Pfisterer.  Instead, he's taking on one of the best Councillors on the Council.

I think one way or another, Robinson made a mistake.  Either in the pre-primary convention or the May Primary, he'll find out that Mansfield is no slouch when it comes to a campaign.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

City-County Council Filings as of January 26

The filing deadline for the City-County Council seats is a little over a week away, and the filings are beginning to fly in, but there are still a few openings.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will be filing for the Democratic nomination for City-County Council, in District 20 on Thursday.  Don't be surprised.  I have had an exploratory committee for several months, and I plan to make it official on Thursday.

As of the close of business yesterday evening, here are the filings for City County Council.  Incumbents are noted with an asterisk.  Remember, all seats are newly-drawn from their 2011 boundaries so there really are not incumbents for the district races only Council incumbents.  Plus, the At-Large seats will not exist, so those folks have to file in a district.

I'll review these over the next couple of weeks until the filing deadline, and I'll do some early analysis tomorrow.  Enjoy!

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

District 2
William David Bowser (R)

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
No Candidates Filed

District 11
No Candidates Filed

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
No Candidates Filed

District 20
No Candidates Filed

District 21
Frank Mascari (D)*

District 22
No Candidates Filed

District 23
No Candidates Filed

District 24
No Candidates Filed

District 25
No Candidates Filed

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pence to Create State-Run Media Arm

Congratulations, you're about to be the owner of a fully-functioning news organization.

Tom LoBianco of the Indy Star writes that Governor Mike Pence's Administration is creating a state-run media service called Just IN.  You and I will be footing the bill for this taxpayer-run news service that the Governor's Administration says will "break news" and offer stories to news organizations across the state.

At first blush, this is a horrible waste of tax dollars.  To create a news organization that's simply a front for a PR wing of the Governor's Office is really scary to me.  While the right wing often rails against the "mainstream media" for being "leftist", I guess we should just note that Pence is not making any bones about what he's doing.  When you say the media is state-run in Indiana, it's really state-run in Just IN's case.

I don't expect large city media outlets falling for this Just IN lure, but small town papers up against the budget might certainly be consumers of this new service.  As you know, there are tons of small town newspapers out there and many local radio stations too across Indiana that might run with Just IN's content.

Since we own it, I think Indiana taxpayers should get notice of all the editorial content meetings that Just IN will hold and show up.  After all, we should all determine the content as owners, right?  RIGHT!

By the way, almost every public school district will be going for a referendum in the next few years.  At least the "Show Horse" will look good for his Presidential run if he spins the articles, right?

Malware Warnings

I was experiencing some problems with a blog that I linked to through my blog roll generating malware warnings.  When I could not get rid of the blog that was generating a malware warning, I was forced to get rid of the entire blog roll.  

I apologize for the inconvenience.  I know this was a popular feature on my blog.  If I have forgotten to replace your favorite blog or your blog was on the list, and I have forgotten to put it back on there, drop me a note at johnnystir (at)


Medellin Turnaround Driven by Infrastructure Improvements

"Metrocablemed" by Camilo Sanchez at en.wikipedia.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
About 20 years ago, Medellin, Colombia was a city in turmoil.

The city was crime-ridden and under the control of famous drug lords.  Anyone that dared to stand up to them found themselves dead.  How Medellin has become one of the Western Hemisphere's success stories and most desirable places to visit and even work is a tale many city planners can also follow.

A reprinted article on details the steps that Medellin has taken to turn itself into a bustling economic giant that just keeps growing.   It involves the term "transit-oriented development" and we could do it easily here in our city.

While Indianapolis has its challenges, it can't compare to the Medellin city planners were faced with in the early 1990's.  Drug lords like Pablo Escobar were seen as Robin Hood figures.  Law enforcement and military operations did a great job taking down Escobar and taking back the streets, but that was only part of the issue.

As the article from Salon discusses, Medellin connected a modern and integrated transportation system to the city's poorest areas giving everyone access to every part of the city for about, 91 cents.  Then it took even greater lengths to connect other of the poorest barrios to the city.  The story doesn't stop there, either.  You'll just have to peruse the article which was reprinted from a piece by Judith Rodin.

I wonder if Indianapolis could do better by connecting our residents via a variety of forms of cheap transportation?  Could our city do better if we were all more connected via the internet?  Thoughts worth thinking.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Resign or Divest...My Two Cents in Behning's Ethics Dilemma

"Can I interest you in our
lobbying services?"
Sit down.  If you haven't heard this story, you're going to need to be sitting to read it.

Tom Lobianco of the Indy Star reported earlier this week that the most powerful Republican on education matters in the Indiana House, Bob Behning, decided it would be a good idea to form an education lobbying firm, Berkshire Education Strategies, this past summer and sign up one of Indiana's biggest testing vendors as one of his clients.

Just makes you want to scream, doesn't it?

Don't worry.  Behning doesn't plan to lobby in state.  He'll only apparently represent clients that Indiana also deals with as vendors in out of state contracts.  

Nope, this is actually a story in the Indy Star, and it's not from the Onion.  You know, there are times that you just allow a story to stand on its own and don't have to say much.  It just seems like, in this case, it's kind of like this cartoon, doesn't it?

I think this one's easy.  No matter what the House Ethics Committee says, Behning should either immediately divest himself from Berkshire Education Strategies OR should immediately resign from the legislature.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

IBJ Article Reports WIBC's Tony Katz Chasing, Catching Bob & Tom in Local Radio Race

In an article that pretty much just throws a jumble of numbers at you, the Indianapolis Business Journal and some data from Nielsen make the claim that the WIBC Morning News with Tony Katz is chipping away at legendary market leader, Bob & Tom, in the morning radio race.

If this continues to occur, it could signal a huge shift in Indianapolis radio and signal an end to an era of dominance by Bob & Tom on the Indy airwaves.

I've written about Katz before here, and, I have to admit, I kind of get why people like him.  He's not a completely nasty guy on the air like Rush Limbaugh, and he does have some sort of different perspective on things.  Time will tell if that perspective will hold listeners long-term.  Bob & Tom have held the market's top radio spot against all challengers for over 30 years.  As a radio guy, I still prefer the old Steve Simpson Morning News to what Tony Katz has put together.

Bob, Chick, Tom, Kristi
In order to make its case, the IBJ relies on Nielsen numbers which, admittedly, contradict themselves.  It's often the same reason why on television station can claim it's the number one newscast over another claiming the same thing.  In the very key 25 to 54 demographic, Bob & Tom remain the number one show in Indy by a wide margin with Katz cutting into their lead.  Among all listeners six years and older, Katz actually leads Bob & Tom.

Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold are Indianapolis radio legends.  The duo came to the city in the early 80's from Michigan and started what would become one of the most successful syndicated comedy morning shows in the business.  Based in Indy, the duo's show is heard coast to coast on over 130 radio stations.  Don't make a mistake in thinking that Katz is somehow putting the Cumulus powerhouse out of business.  He most certainly isn't.  Bob & Tom are still going strong after 30 years in Indianapolis and strong nationwide in a radio business that's seen nothing but mostly downs in the last few years.  They are holding their own by doing what they do along with longtime news director Kristi Lee and sidekick Chick McGee.

Nonetheless, Katz should be credited for doing what I didn't think was possible: making a run at the legends in town.  You had to know something was up at WIBC when they changed Garrison's long-running schedule, and it's also good to know that Steve Simpson landed on his feet in Minneapolis.  His show is still missed here in town even though Katz's show is doing well.

Congratulations Tony.  Good luck at keeping your early gains.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Chairman's Nightmare Playing Out for Walker

The race for Mayor in 2015 has shown one thing if nothing else.  Marion County Republican Chair Kyle Walker has lost control of his party.

Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams
Take this week for example.  The Republicans, secretive and promising to make a big splash, promised a local businessman was about to announce his run for Mayor.  As Chuck Brewer was waiting on the high dive preparing his Triple Lindy to dive into the Mayor's race, Olgen Williams ran by, slapped him on the belly, and cannonballed his way in.  Kyle Walker stood by, all wet.

Local Businessman Chuck Brewer
You could say that things got complicated when Greg Ballard's Deputy Mayor for Neighborhoods decided to enter the race on Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King Day.  This upstaged Brewer's announcement and added a very strong Republican to the race.  In essence, Williams, who has largely been silent during his time as Deputy Mayor for Neighborhoods, usurped control from the man who was supposed to have it, Kyle Walker.  Welcome back Olgen.

I don't envy Walker.  This may be his toughest challenge to date.  How to get this one solved is going to take whatever skill he has as a party chair.  Williams isn't the choice of the party.  That has been made clear by Brewer's emergence.  Williams may, however, prove to be the better candidate because of name recognition.

Kyle Walker can't simply go in and attack Williams, either.  After all, as one of the members of Mayor Ballard's Administration, that would be like attacking the judgement of the Mayor.  He's going to have to let this one play out, I think.  Williams, a veteran politician, knows it.

The poor guy in the middle of all this is probably Chuck Brewer.  I'm sure someone talked him into running and putting his life and business on hold.  Now this.  What a welcome to politics.

This one's going to be interesting for a while as it unfolds, and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Hogsett is probably content to watch.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Race for Indy Mayor Getting Crowded

Over the weekend, the Republican nomination for Mayor got muddied.  I expected the "businessman running for Mayor" rumor to be Jeff Cardwell, as my reliable source had told me, but I was wrong.

Instead, three more Republicans joined the fray with Jocelyn-Tandy T. Adande and are now running for Greg Ballard's soon-to-be old job.

Former Hamilton County official, Terry Lee Michael, filed.  There was not much in the way of hoopla or fanfare for his filing.

Current Ballard Administration Deputy Mayor, Olgen Williams, announced he will file to run.  Williams is probably the most formidable Republican announced so far given his work in the community.  He is well-known on the Westside and near-Westside for his work in Haughville and with the Christamore House.  Largely marginalized by the Ballard Administration, he has been quiet for the majority of Ballard's years in office.

Perhaps drawn out by Williams' announcement, the Republican businessman that Kyle Walker had in his back pocket also announced on Monday.  That's Iraq War Veteran and local businessman, Chuck Brewer.  I'd like to tell you a lot about him, but, frankly, I don't know much about him.  It appears he owns a franchise of the Potbelly Sandwich Shop and a soup shop called Soupremacy.  He also wrote a book on how to get ROTC Scholarships.  He is a retired Lt. Colonel from the U.S. Army.

It appears also that Rev. Charles Harrison may be withdrawing his bid to run for Mayor saying that he won't run if Williams wins the nomination but may run as an independent (he will need 3,176 signatures by my count) if he doesn't.

So that means that if you're scoring at home...

Jocelyn-Tandy T. Adande, Chuck Brewer, Terry Michael, and Olgen Williams are running for Mayor as Republicans.

Joe Hogsett and Larry Vaughn as Democrats.

Sam Carson as an independent.

Got it?  Among this field, Hogsett still has to be considered a towering favorite.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dr. King's Torch Still Burns Bright

Thursday was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's 86th birthday.  For many, it passed unnoticed.  I had realized it, but it was too late to write something here on the blog as I had already been booked up solid this week and had to pre-schedule some posts.

As I sat here though, I felt compelled to write something about the man we lost in April of 1968 to an assassin's bullet.  Sure, time has proven that even Dr. King was not perfect.  Many of those that still try to discredit him today are quick to point out that even the most seemingly perfect people aren't infallible.  History will do that to you.  It wipes away the rough edges sometimes and puts certain things behind others.

I was never alive for one second of Dr. King's life, but I know why he was important.  I can remember as a child the struggle for a holiday to recognize Dr. King.  The battle it took to get all 50 states to recognize Dr. King's holiday just ended a few years ago in 2000.  After all, there are some parts of this country it seems that time forgot, and life is more like it was in the 1950's and 1960's than it should be today.  I wonder what Dr. King might have accomplished had he lived out his years.

What would we think of this man whose life clock stopped at only 39 years of age?  It seems like he must have lived an eternity, but his public life was all too brief.  Dr. King, however, knew his fate.  In that very famous "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, he knew that he was not long for the world.  The death threats were constant.  If James Earl Ray hadn't gunned him down, perhaps some other crazy person would have.  In 1999, a Memphis jury ruled that the U.S. Government perhaps had a role in the murder of Dr. King.  From a health perspective, doctors said that King's autopsy revealed a man under great stress and strain with a body that revealed more years than his chronological age might have indicated.

Whatever the case, we cannot let his legacy nor his dream of racial equality go.  The current generation is forgetting things or ignoring the past.  I have seen it already this week.  It appears that many young people have no idea what the significance of Selma is to the civil rights movement.  They don't know about "Bloody Sunday" or the lengths that some went just simply to get the right to vote.  They don't know the struggles and strains that the civil rights leaders felt.  They certainly don't know why these things fit into what we're seeing today in our society.

When my father was interviewed for a principal's job in the mid-1990's, they asked him what the biggest problem facing our country was, and he said race relations.  He didn't get that principal job, and he thought until the day he died it was because he gave that answer.

I'm proud of my father's answer, and I think that it continues to be a problem that plagues our nation to its core.  This idea of coexisting is not enough.  We have to have empathy and seek to understand why things are seen differently from my point of view or yours.

The original song from Selma called Glory by Common and John Legend, in my view, is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've heard in ages.  Coupled with footage from the movie, I haven't been able to stop watching it.  It's powerful, and Common says some things in a way that even the most hardened heart against race relations can begin to understand.

To understand, we first must remember.  It hurts.  It's not easy.  It will wear you out when you really think about it.  To understand where we are, we must first remember where we were.  Then, the real hard part is to figure out where we are going.

So, tonight, I sit here, and I listen to the words of Dr. King.  I reflect.  I hope.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Your City-County Council by Service Length

As the City-County Council gets seated for its 2015 Council year, I thought it would be interesting to look at when the 25 Councillors joined the body.

(Joined on 1/1 of that year unless noted)
Mary Moriarty Adams (D)-1988
Monroe Gray (D)-11/23/1992 (Former President)
Ginny Cain (R)-2004
Angela Mansfield (D)-2004
Duke Oliver (D)-2004
Marilyn Pfisterer (R)-2004
Bob Lutz (R)-7/2007
Jose Evans (Elected D changed to R)-2008
Ben Hunter (R)-2008
Janice McHenry (R)-2008
Mike McQuillen (R)-2008
Christine Scales (R)-2008
Maggie Lewis (D)-12/2/2008
Aaron Freeman (R)-3/23/2010
Jack Sandlin (R)-11/19/2010
Zach Adamson (D)-2012
John Barth (D)-2012
Jason Holliday (R)-2012
Pam Hickman (D)-2012
Frank Mascari (D)-2012
Jeff Miller (R)-2012
Vop Osili (D)-2012
Leroy Robinson (D)-2012
Joe Simpson (D)-2012
Will Gooden (R)-6/2012
Jefferson Shreve (R)-4/2013
LaKeisha Jackson (D)-8/21/2014
Stephen Clay (D)-11/2014
Kip Tew (D)-11/25/2014

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Will Cardwell Try to "Do It Best" for Republicans?

Jeff Cardwell
Troy Riggs is out.  Scott Keller is out, but a reliable source has told Indy Democrat tell who is in.

A source has told Indy Democrat that Republicans plan to announce within the next few days that former City-County Councillor Jeff Cardwell will be their candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis.

Cardwell was elected to the Council in 2007 and was reelected in 2011, but he ended up leaving the Council for a position in Governor Mike Pence's Administration in late 2012.  Cardwell owns and operates Cardwell Do-It-Best Home Center on Indy's Southside.

In his campaign for Council, Cardwell played up his conservatism and religious background.  In a campaign for Mayor, you can bet you'll hear plenty about how he worked with Mayor Greg Ballard and the Council to help create the Gateway South District and keep the Miracle Mile Parade going strong.

If this is true, and he is actually running for Mayor, Cardwell is a legitimate candidate for Republicans and given his ties to Governor Mike Pence you would figure would have avenues to raise money beyond his own.  The problem for Cardwell is that his politics may be fine for his old City-County Council district but too far to the right for the rest of Marion County.

Lewis Reelected President of the City-County Council

Council President
Maggie Lewis
For the fourth time, Maggie Lewis has been elected by her peers as President of the City-County Council.

Since Democrats reclaimed the Council, Lewis' steady hand has shepherded the majority through what can often be difficult waters.  After all, herding Democrats is oftentimes like herding cats, but Lewis has done a spectacular job.

Respected on both sides of the aisle, Lewis survived an overthrow attempt last year by Brian Mahern who found Republicans that wouldn't play ball with his scheme to oust the President. That's even after the Democrats made controversial moves to reduce Republican representation on committees.

Yes, Lewis hasn't been afraid to play hardball, either, but she's been pragmatic enough to get things done in a bi-partisan manner and keep the Council moving forward with the Mayor.  It's tough to do in split party leadership, but she's done it well.

Lewis should be easily reelected in November, so there's no question that if she wishes to remain in the role of President that she should be able to do so.

In other Council leadership news, John Barth was reelected Vice President of the Council.  Mike McQuillen and Marilyn Pfisterer will remain the two highest-ranking Republicans on the Council.  Councillor Monroe Gray will lead the Democratic Caucus.

Gary Welsh over at Advance Indiana has a post on some more of the fireworks that happened at the meeting.  It's worth a read.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Carson to be Named to Intelligence Committee

Rep. Andre Carson
Multiple reports out of Washington say that Congressman Andre Carson will be named to the House Intelligence Committee.  It's a big step-up for the Indianapolis Democrat.

It's hard to believe, but Congressman Carson is now in his 7th year in Congress having been elected in March of 2008.  Since that time, the Congressman has been the center of a couple of controversies...mostly none of his own doing...but has largely kept a clean record of hard work for his constituents.  It has finally paid off.

The House Committee on Intelligence has legislative oversight over most of our intelligence community.  It's a very powerful committee.

The spin nationally and somewhat locally is that Carson is the first Muslim to be appointed to the Committee, and that's true.  Of course, anytime he's appointed to anything in Congress, he has a pretty good chance as Keith Ellison is the only other Muslim in Congress.

The appointment also raises the profile of the 7th Congressional District, so it's a good thing for Indianapolis.  Congratulations to Congressman Carson.

Moriarty Adams Deserves Thanks for Long Service

Councillor Mary Moriarty Adams
With Blake Johnson's announcement that he's running for City-County Council, the current longest-serving City-County Councillor also indirectly announced that she was stepping aside at the end of her term.

Mary Moriarty Adams was first elected to the Council in 1987 and took office in 1988.  Her nearly 30 years on the Council won't set a record when she leaves office, but she's served her Eastside Indianapolis constituents with record of distinction.

Staunchly independent, Moriarty Adams many times found herself at odds with the majority of her own party.  Moriarty Adams was one of the no votes on the landmark Human Rights Ordinance that expanded protection to lesbian and gay city employees. When budgeting issues arose with Republicans in 2010, Moriarty Adams was one of only two Democrats that did not walk out of the chamber.  Moriarty Adams also drew the ire of her party and voted earlier that year for Mayor Greg Ballard's utility deal that transferred the city's water and sewer assets to Citizen's Energy.  Since then, she's become much more of a reliable Democratic vote and maybe even a bit more liberal.  For example, she voted for benefits to be extended to domestic partners.

In her district, however, Moriarty Adams is revered by her constituents who have rewarded her with seven terms on the Council in a district that often was much more purple and swing in nature than reliably blue.  She has excelled with constituent service and has had a keen understanding of city-county government.  Losing her experience will be a big blow as she has served along with Mayors Hudnut, Goldsmith, Peterson, and Ballard.

Since Moriarty Adams joined the Council, Indianapolis has grown and changed into a much different city than it was in the late 1980's, and her work on the Council has been a part of that.  As we move forth to try to solve our city's problems, her voice will be missed.

While I've disagreed with Councillor Adams, I've never once doubted her passion for the City of Indianapolis and her devotion to her district.  As she winds down her term over the next year, please take some time, as I do here, to thank her for her service to the city and to Marion County.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Hodge Podge: A Vaughn Files for Mayor; Johnson Enters District 12 Race; Posting Schedule

Posting is going to be a little sporadic this week.  Lots on my plate here as we hit early January, and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to keep to the daily schedule.  Please bear with me.

Vaughn Joins Mayor's Race
At one point, we thought a Vaughn might run for Mayor, but I didn't think it would be this one.  Larry Vaughn has also filed paperwork to run for Mayor.

Vaughn is a familiar figure to those that follow local government.  He's extremely active and is often seen speaking on just about anything he can it seems sometimes.  That leads some to derisively refer to Vaughn, but I'll take the other road.  I believe that Vaughn loves this city or else he would not care so much about what happens here.

Since he filed as a Democrat, can he beat Joe Hogsett?  When pigs fly Greg Ballard to his next trade mission.  That doesn't mean that he's not earned the right to run or won't add to the campaign in some way.

Blake Johnson Files for Council
It also appears that Blake Johnson has stepped forward and will be running in District 12 for the City-County Council.  This means that Mary Moriarty Adams will be stepping away from her seat on the Council after nearly 28 years on board.  She is the longest-serving City-County Councillor having been elected in 1987.

Johnson, a former teacher and Communications Director for Congressman Andre Carson, says Councillor Moriarty Adams will serve as his campaign chair.  More on this development in coming days.

Gotta run.  Stay safe folks and don't go slip sliding away!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Adande to Run for Mayor

Jocelyn-Tandy T. Adande
The Republicans have found a candidate for Mayor.

Jocelyn-Tandy T. Adande has filed to run for Mayor of Indianapolis.  This is her umpteenth run for office and most recent run as a Republican.  It's clearly not her first time at the rodeo.  She ran for Mayor as a Democrat in 1999 as well as countless other offices.

Just since 2010, Adande ran for Marion County Recorder.  In 2011, Adande ran for the Republican nomination for City-County Council, At Large.  The Marion County Republican Party dedicated an entire mailer to her defeat.  In 2013, she challenged Walker for his chairmanship, and in 2014, she ran for Marion County Clerk.

For all her efforts, all she's drawn from the Marion County Republican Party has been a cold shoulder.  In May, the Marion County GOP wouldn't even sell her a ticket to their fundraiser.

No one seems to want to enter this race against Joe Hogsett as a Republican, so Adande should be credited for giving it a go.  Her entry may even force the issue more for Walker, who is increasingly looking more and more weak as a chair.

Rev. Charles Harrison is expected to enter as a Libertarian or Independent if he runs.  Sam Carson is attempting a run as an independent.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dems: Tone Down Anti-Donnelly Rhetoric, Please...He's Actually an Example

Senator Donnelly
Joe Donnelly is getting criticism from progressive Democrats on his efforts to redefine full-time work as 40 hours instead of 30 hours per week.  

Democrats knew this when they elected Donnelly.  He was going to upset you sometimes, but he was going to surprise you, too.  He surprised many when he changed his closely-held views on same-sex marriage, for example.  For the most part, Donnelly was elected not because he was some left wing shill.  He was elected because of his "Hoosier common sense", and it was more than a campaign slogan.  Donnelly, like Richard Lugar before him, reflects the sometimes confused political nature of the Hoosier State.

I have evolved on the blue dog Dems like Donnelly and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.  There aren't too many of them left these days, and they represent the answer to the hyper-partisanship that currently ails the Senate.  With Republicans taking out their moderates, that leaves us those of us wanting to actually see a functional Senate with these guys.  President Obama will take care of the rest at his desk.

As far as the efforts to redefine the work week, 40 hours is a full week of work.  That's an eight hour day, five days per week.  Yes, it changes what is in the Affordable Care Act, but is it really that ludicrous?  It's much more Hoosier common sensical than Senator Coats whose Affordable Care Act answer is always, "REPEAL AND REPLACE!"

I don't necessarily agree with Senator Donnelly's proposal, and I'm not saying you should either.  I'm just saying that we shouldn't hate him for working with the other side in negotiation.  That's what Republicans do.  We're the big tent party, remember?

After all, it's not like he sold out and went and joined Fox News.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hogsett's Fundraising Numbers Mirror Campaign's Great Start

Joe Hogsett
I know most of you already know this, but Joe Hogsett is off to a great start in his run for Mayor of Indianapolis.  His fundraising numbers are off to a remarkable start as well.

The former U.S. Attorney and Indiana Secretary of State has raised a whopping $1.45 million since mid-August.  He has over $1.37 million on hand.  According to the campaign, this is a record pace for Mayor of Indianapolis.

Hogsett still does not have any official opposition in the race.  Reverend Charles Harrison, leader of the Ten Point Coalition, is still considering a run for Mayor and has formed an exploratory committee.  He is believed to be pursuing a run on either the Libertarian Party ticket or launching an independent campaign.  Sam Carson is also pursing an independent spot on the ballot.

Republicans continue to search for a candidate, and, from all indications I've been able to gather, the search is not going well.  Mayor Greg Ballard represented his party's best chance electoral to keep the office against Hogsett.  When he stepped aside, the Republican Party's chances of finding a candidate that could come near raising enough money to compete with Hogsett went away, too.

There's still a long way back to November, but how the Republicans can be left in this kind of lurch without much of a glimmer of hope is head scratching.  Ballard became Mayor of Indianapolis without owing much to anyone.  It appears he's going out leaving his own party in much worse shape than it was when he entered the office.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Democrats Must Push Pence on Pursuit of Two Offices

Governor Mike Pence
It would be unwise for Mike Pence to pursue two offices at once, and someone needs to tell him so.  It would also be unwise for Democrats to sit back and let Pence go unchallenged on the issue, and I'm telling them right now.

That's right John Gregg or Baron Hill or whoever the candidate may be on the Democratic side that might be interested in running for Governor.  I don't care what 2015 toes you step on, it's time to be loud and to be vocal and to not let Mike Pence get away with what he's trying to do.

I know that Mike Pence is all about rewriting the election results of 2012.  Just look at what he's doing to Glenda Ritz.  That said, he did not top 50 percent of the vote.  He saw a huge lead just a few weeks before the election in most polls collapse to just a 3.2 percentage point margin of victory on election night, and, let's face it, there's a lot to attack Pence on in 2016.

I believe it is time for the Democrat most likely to challenge Pence in 2016 to open his or her campaign and open it now.  Immediately, the gloves need to come out so that Mike Pence is forced to choose one or the other.  He should not be allowed to play with his constituents in Indiana no matter what Mike Delph wants to allow him to do.

It's time for the Democrats to push the issue.  The Libertarians could help, too.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

In Memoriam: Mario Cuomo (1932-2014)

It's hard to believe Mario Cuomo is gone, but he is.  He died on New Year's Eve.

Since I've been watching politics, the former New York Governor has been someone I've always admired and respected.  Cuomo's views most commonly have fallen to the left of my own, but he was a man that was in the limelight of political thought for years after his retirement from politics.  For someone other than a President or a national politician, that's very rare.  People paid attention to Governor Cuomo because he always had something to say, and he believed it to his core.

Cuomo could certainly have run for President, and I think he could have handled the office well.  Perhaps he was too far left to have been elected in a General Election fight, but he was a man of integrity.  When given the choice to choose higher office or to stand up for the constituents he was elected to serve, he chose those he was elected to serve in 1992.  He was a man of substance and was clear on his views.  Cuomo was who he was, and that was a proud Italian-American who stood up for his culture and his State of New York.

Even though he has passed, his influence continues.  His son, Andrew, is the current Governor of New York, and his younger son, Chris, is a well-known CNN anchor.  His other children have made their marks in charitable organizations or in the fashion world.  He also leaves behind his wife of 60 years, Matilda.

It's difficult to think of Cuomo without thinking about what might have been.  His speech attacking Ronald Reagan's idea of the U.S. as a "Shining City on the Hill" is revered in liberal circles, and there's no wonder why.  It's an amazingly well-constructed political speech that is, in many ways, as true today as it was the day that Cuomo delivered it on the Democratic Convention floor in San Francisco nearly 31 years ago.

Governor Mario Cuomo was 82 years old.

In Memoriam: Stuart Scott (1965-2015)

ESPN's Stuart Scott is gone.

The cause of his death will be recorded as cancer, but that would be selling his struggle over the last seven years short.  It's been a very public and very visible struggle with a tough form of the devastating disease.

Thankfully, this past July, Scott somehow found the strength to leave us with this amazing speech at the ESPY Awards.  It was defiant.  It was strong.  It was memorable.  It was inspiring.

At the end of the day, we saw a man be strong and vulnerable and loving in the face of the fight of his life.  In the end, by his definition, he won his battle.  Stuart Scott will always be remembered for how he lived.  Even if It was all too short.

Stuart Scott exits this life at 49.

Longstanding Unaddressed Problems Created Castleton Incident

Castleton Square Mall
Photo from
Yes, there was an incident at Castleton Square Mall last night. Yes, it was unacceptable. Yes, it should not happen, and we must take steps to make sure it won't happen again. Let's have some real talk for a minute.

What happened is not going to chase me out of Indianapolis. Heck, it's not even going to change my shopping habits because I haven't been to Castleton Square Mall in at least 10 years, but it's not because of anything other than I hate the traffic on that corner of town.

I was, however, at Greenwood Park Mall just on Saturday and frequent Metropolis Mall, Circle Centre, and shops in Avon.

You take a risk every time you pull into traffic folks.

The fact is that IMPD could not substantiate any of the rumors of shots fired and did not apparently make any arrests. It was an unruly crowd that they successfully dispersed.  I'm not saying this was no big deal, but three of the four major news organizations in town that broadcast an 11:00 p.m. newscast spent three minutes or less on this "shopping brawl" because there wasn't more to the story than an unruly crowd that got out of hand.  

Channel 13 even led with a fatal house fire.

If we really want to talk about what happened at Castleton last night, it comes down to we have thousands of young people in this community that have not a lot for them to do.  Many times sporting events are priced out of their range, and, for whatever reason, school events just don't attract them.  So, on the final weekend of Winter Break, you end up with a ton of teenagers and/or young people unsupervised in a shopping mall.  Need I say more?

Here's some more truth.  This issue has been percolating for years, and this is not something that just cropped up.  In fact, similar problems have plagued this mall and other malls in Indy and across the United States. 

Mayor Ballard's vaunted crime plan does nothing to address what happened at Castleton Square Mall. There's nothing in there to address teens and at-risk youth beyond the "Your Life Matters" program. It doesn't address that we have many youths that have nowhere to go or nothing to do and parents that would rather drop them off at a place and let someone else do the watching. Pre-K investment may eventually pay off, but these young people are here now with nothing to do but need something to do.  I'm not blaming Mayor Ballard...I'm just saying. At the risk of putting more on the plate of the schools, perhaps that's where some of these messages need to be targeted.

It even seems like mall owners are choosing profits over shopper safety.  As Abdul-Hakim Shabazz points out, perhaps Simon Malls could do more to help out IMPD by instituting a tougher policy on young people roaming their properties unaccompanied.  That still requires some sort of enforcement, and I haven't seen a lot of Paul Blart, Mall Cops, on the scene lately.

Let's not totally blame the teenager.  As I'm sure many of you can recall from your own background, when I was 15-16-17 years old, I went out and did things on my own with my parents' blessing. I had a curfew or a strict pick-up time, and I knew my butt was grass and my dad was the lawn mower if I caused trouble.

My bet was that the majority of the kids at Castleton last night were in the same boat as I was.  They were largely good kids out to have fun.  It's always the knuckleheads that ruin it for everyone, and it is clear that the knuckleheads were out last night at Castleton.  It's fair to ask...where were the parents of these knuckleheads, and why don't they have the home training necessary to be trusted in a situation where they can be left alone with other young people for a few hours?

For the record, I was with hundreds of young adults doing the right thing last night at a basketball game at Ben Davis High School.  If you give students and kids worthwhile activities, they will rise to the expectations. 

Credit and kudos to IMPD for their work last night in dispersing that unruly crowd without incident or injury.  All the video I saw showed them working in a very professional manner.

Friday, January 2, 2015

GOP-Backed Bill to Allow Pence to Run for President Equals Bad Politics

Governor Mike Pence
This is going to be one whale of an Indiana General Assembly session.  I can just feel the crazy.

Speaking of which, Senator Mike Delph has  an idea.  He wants to pass a bill that will allow Governor Mike Pence to run for Governor and for President at the same time.  He believes, he says, that having a sitting Governor in the national limelight is good for the state.  He proposes doing away with the boundaries that might prevent him from running.

This coming from the same Mike Delph that was so concerned about the integrity of elections a couple of years ago that he wanted to do away with straight-party voting or party affiliation whatsoever on the ballot.  Does this bill that would allow Pence to run for Governor and President sound like something Delph would come up with?

Not to me.  In fact, when I found out that Delph was the person behind the bill, I chuckled.  It's clear that someone in leadership wants Delph to carry the water on this one perhaps as a hazing humiliation to get him back in the caucus.  You remember that Delph was expelled from his own caucus last year after divulging some of the contents of a secret caucus meeting.  His Twitter tirades didn't help, either.

This is a really bad idea to begin with.  In other situations where I've seen this occur, it's usually been for federal and not state office.  Joe Biden was doubly victorious in his Senate reelection bid as well as his bid to be Vice President.  He resigned from the Senate.  Paul Ryan won reelection to Congress while losing his race for Vice President in 2012.  I believe Joe Lieberman also won reelection the the Senate in 2000 while on the ballot for VEEP as Al Gore's running mate. I would argue that state and federal issues are quite different, and if a strong Democrat emerges as a candidate for Governor, it would be very unwise for Pence to try to run for both at once.

I think that Pence's chance of actually winning the nomination at this point are very slim, but he does appear to be one of a handful of candidates wanting to launch that national race.  Ultimately, I think this will all be moot and he will pass on a run this time around, but only Mike Pence knows for sure.

As for Delph, looks like he's going to be the Republican's spaghetti guy.  He'll throw bills up against the wall to see if they stick.