Tuesday, December 16, 2014

No Merritt in This Campaign

Senator Jim Merritt
Senator Jim Merritt made it known today to anyone that would listen that he has no interest in running for Mayor of Indianapolis.  He becomes the latest high-profile Republican to take a pass on the office.

Merritt did tell Mary Milz of WTHR that he plans to run for Governor of Indiana someday in the future whenever the job is open.  It was a candid admission from a very keen politician.  We'll save that campaign talk for another day.

So, it's back to square one for Mr. Kyle Walker.  Milz said that she had talked to former City-County Councillor Scott Keller who said he could bring $4 million to the table for a run if he was guaranteed a clear path to the nomination.  I think that's more of a shot across Walker's bow than anything.  Keller was abandoned by the GOP years ago after he sided with the Democrats in the non-discrimination policy and police merger battles.  Without any party support to back Keller, Brian Mahern easily defeated him when he ran for reelection to the Council in 2007.  It remains to be seen what will happen there.

The best offer on the table for Walker would be to join up with Reverend Charles Harrison and try to make him the Republican nominee for Mayor.  Still a longshot, Harrison might be the best chance Republicans have to hold the office.  Harrison still has not declared a party.

The danger here is for Democratic frontrunner and election frontrunner Joe Hogsett to fight the air of inevitability.  If I know Joe, he'll continue to campaign like he's 20 points behind in the polls because it's something he truly loves to do.  He loves to talk to people, shake hands, listen to problems, and fight for votes.

We'll see, however, if Walker could pull a rabbit or two out of his rapidly shrinking hat of candidates.  The best choice may be Governor Mitch Daniels' sister and former U.S. Attorney Deborah Daniels.  No question she could raise money and having that last name provides her with plenty of name recognition as well.  She hasn't been bandied about as a candidate thus far, but it will be interesting to see if she might pop up at the last minute.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Garrison's Show Shrinks In Favor of Katz

Greg Garrison
On his own show this morning, Greg Garrison announced that he would be dropping his show from three hours to two hours.  Tony Katz will be making up the difference, and he appeared on Garrison's show to make the mutual announcement.

Interestingly, during the interview, Garrison didn't even seem to know the details of the move erroneously saying that Katz would be doing 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. rather than seeing his slot expand from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.

I guess one less hour of Garrison is progress.

It's being spun as a mutual decision by Garrison and company to have Indy radio's codger write more for WIBC and expand Katz's show, but it's pretty clear that WIBC wants to get younger.  With ratings on the upswing right now (up to a 6.2 from a 5.1 this August. station-wide) Garrison stands out as the sore thumb among the new whipper snappers.

Tony Katz
Katz, the Chicks on the Right, and Abdul all seem like babies compared to Garrison, a gifted attorney but a horrid radio host.  The station has also taken pains to get younger by adding Dana Loesch's radio program a few years back to its airwaves.  They showed longtime anchor Steve Simpson the door a few months ago in favor of Katz.  Simpson has since landed on his feet in Minneapolis.

I assume Garrison's audience is still unique and special enough that WIBC wants to keep them around, but let's face it, his show is old fashioned.  It's the same stuff every week.  He has the same guests and the same interviews.  In a world of new and different, Garrison's show is the wood-paneled office of yesterday.  He's a relic of talk radio from two decades past.  He's never changed his show, and he's never had to do it.  Now, he's getting replaced by the new model.

Garrison has been an institution for almost 20 years on the Indy airwaves, and his show remains WIBC's last long-running local weekday program.  For now, he'll stay on the air, but it's anyone's guess how long.

Rush...they're coming for you next!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Remembering Pearl Harbor Attack 73 Years Later

This particularly poignant piece documents some USS Arizona survivors that still are telling their stories today.  Remember Pearl Harbor!

In Memoriam: Mary Berry (1931-2014)

Mary Berry
Photo from
Southside Democrats and Democrats across Marion County are feeling the loss of Mary Berry.

Berry was one of my favorite people in politics, and she was the driving force behind a group of Democrats that would meet on Mondays at the Gaslight Inn on the Southside.  If you wanted her support, you knew that you needed to show up for lunch, and the candidates did.

Mostly, though, it was Mary's friends, and I got to know her through these gatherings.  She was a wonderful lady who, as her obituary pointed out, "never met a stranger", loved the Chicago Cubs and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and Democratic politics.  She was also a proud person of Irish descent.  Mary bled green.

Unfortunately, time caught up with this bright light.  She passed away at the age of 83 on Friday, and she will be missed by so many.  My thoughts are with her family and her extended family of friends across Indianapolis.

Daily Posting Becomes Sporadic Posting Starting Today Through Start of 2015

It's come to that time that the daily posting schedule takes a short vacation.

I'm not going away, and I'm sure there will be a few posts this month. Basically, I'll post when I durn well please instead of doing it daily. It's just a very busy time of year as the school year winds down, the after school schedule spikes, and the family schedule becomes extremely important.

So, here is the schedule for the rest of the year:
December 8-December 12-Sporadic updates
December 15-December 19-Sporadic updates
December 22-December 26-Breaking news only updates
December 29-January 2-Sporadic updates
January 5-Daily updates resume

Please make a note of it and have a happy holiday season!  Thanks so much for your readership.  You don't know what it means to me.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Pence Closes Down CECI, Releases Anti-Public Education Legislative Agenda

Indiana Statehouse
Since its creation, educators and small government advocates have railed against Governor Mike Pence's Center for Education and Career Innovation.  Critics called it a shadow Department of Education and part of the Governor's effort to undercut Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz.

Yesterday, the Governor reversed course and dissolved the CECI.  It's gone, but Governor Pence had a parting shot.  He released his 2015 legislative agenda, and it's not good for traditional public education.

Pence's legislative agenda calls for the Indiana General Assembly to keep the Superintendent of Public Instruction as part of the State Board of Education but to have that body elect its own chair.  It's a continued move to put the SBOE at the center of the state's education policy and away from the control of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The agenda also calls for more funding for charter schools and more freedom for districts to use performance-based pay for teachers and remove the cap on the education voucher program.

So, let me get this straight. The Governor got rid of the CECI, but he wants to continue to beef up charter schools, performance-based pay, and expand the voucher program?

Sounds like it's going to be a long legislative session for educators more than in just time alone.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Local Businessman Bill Mays is gone at 69

Bill Mays
Photo from IndianapolisRecorder.com
There's word tonight that one of the most influential African-Americans in the history of Indiana has passed away.

Bill Mays, the founder of Mays Chemical and the owner of the Indianapolis Recorder newspaper, died today.

A legendary figure, Mays had a brain for business and found his success in several industries.  He branched out from his chemical company to become a local media and telecommunications powerhouse.  Along with partner Bill Shirk, Mays sold his electronic media interests a few years back to Radio One for a cool $40 million.

That would only tell part of the story about the Evansville native.  He believed in giving back to his community serving on countless boards and civic organizations.  The community will keenly feel his loss.

Bill Mays is gone at 69 years old.

DeLaney Leaves Mayor's Race...Harrison Files Exploratory Committee

Rep. Ed DeLaney
Ed DeLaney dropped out of the Mayor's race today, and that's great news.

It means that the longtime legislator will remain in the Indiana General Assembly where his strong and clear voice is sorely needed at this time when few Democrats prowl the halls.

What's curious is how DeLaney termed his exit.  In a news release, the DeLaney campaign talks about Ed's appointment to the powerful Ways and Means Committee.  He talks passionately about the area's he's looking forward to helping such as pre-K education.

What he didn't do was endorse Joe Hogsett, and that, to me, is disappointing.  This was an opportunity for DeLaney to show some unity with even one sentence, but he didn't do it.  He only talked about ending his run for mayor with "reluctance because of my deep commitment to this city."

So much for sticking the dismount.

Joe Hogsett issued a statement on DeLaney's departure from the race.
“I want to thank my friend Ed DeLaney for his tireless work elevating the important issues that are so critical to the future of our city. His leadership at the Statehouse is invaluable, and I look forward to partnering with him to make Indianapolis a safer, more prosperous city.”
On the same day DeLaney dropped out, Charles Harrison stepped in.  The head of the Ten Point Coalition has yet to declare a party, but he now has a Twitter handle and a website.  So far, it's just an exploratory run.  We'll see how Harrison puts together a possible campaign.

The Republicans still don't have a candidate.

Bennett Implicated in IG Report

Tony Bennett
On Tuesday, Tom LoBianco of the Associated Press lowered the boom on what remained of former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett's career.

The reporter wrote a scathing piece published by the AP on the Indiana Inspector General, David Thomas's, February 2014 report on Bennett's 2012 reelection campaign.  The report recommended prosecuting Bennett for alleged actions he took during that unsuccessful campaign uncovered in the Inspector General's investigation.  The IG report, according to Lobianco, alleges 100 possible violations of federal wire fraud law by Bennett or his staff among other incidences of wrongdoing.

Despite the report, Bennett has yet to be prosecuted by Marion County Prosecutor, Terry Curry, or federal prosecutors through the U.S. Attorney's Office.

For his part, Curry told the Indianapolis Star that he never saw the second 85-page report.  He says he only saw the eight-page report that resulted in Bennett paying a $5,000 fine for ethics violations.  The U.S. Attorney's Office and former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett have declined to comment.  Curry told the Star he's requested a copy of the IG's report for review.

Time will tell where this story goes.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Council Passes Pre-K Plan

On Monday Night, the City-County Council invested in the future of our city by passing a Pre-K proposal that will fund educational opportunities for 1,000 young citizens of our city.  It was no doubt a great night for our city, but it also came with eight no votes.

The Indianapolis Business Journal did some poking around and found out that the no votes came from Councillors opposed to the education plan because they believe that public safety needs to be addressed first or that the state should be funding the program rather than the city.

Personally, I believe very much in early childhood education.  It's fundamental to the learning process of our children as they get older, and there are studies that show that it makes a difference in crime.  I also believe that we have needs now that need to be addressed when it comes to infrastructure and public safety.  I just see the overwhelming benefits that this $40 million public/private investment comes with.

I do take issue with the IBJ on one thing.  This really is not Mayor Greg Ballard's plan at all.  While the Mayor did talk about early education as one of his goals in his crime fighting plan, he did not specifically make a proposal.  Instead, he asked the Council to simply hand over the homestead tax credit revenue without any strings attached to early education.

The Council wisely said no, and it's taken its lumps.  The work behind the scenes began almost immediately, and the result was a deal hammered out by the Mayor's Office and Deputy Mayor Jason Kloth and the City-County Council.  It was passed by a wide bi-partisan margin.  They got something done for the better of the city here.