Wednesday, October 7, 2015

No Posts Til Monday

Day job has me busy.  Unless some breaking news occurs, we'll resume daily posts on Monday, October 12.

See you then!

LGBT Protections Pass in Carmel

On Monday, Carmel passed an ordinance protecting the LGBT community from discrimination. 

It brought to close a sometimes contentious debate about civil rights in a conservative-dominated community full of affluence. It also signaled that times are changing in Indiana.

The new ordinance adds Carmel to the ever-growing list of communities passing ordinances such as this one to prevent LGBT folks from discriminated against within the city limits. It’s a welcome sign of inclusivity and stands directly opposite from the divisiveness RFRA represents.

It wasn’t easy. Initially seen almost as a slam dunk, Carmel was descended upon by opposition to the ordinance. What had been co-sponsored by six of the seven Carmel City Councillors at one point. It passed with a one vote margin, 4-3. Needless to say, the opposition wasn’t happy and Micah Clark, Curt Smith, and Eric Miller all were in the house to see it up close.

This ordinance passed because the good people of Carmel stood up and said they wanted it. They supported Mayor Jim Brainard's call and pushed this ordinance through. It’s going to take this kind of effort across Indiana to get these ordinances passed because Clark, Smith, Miller, and others that oppose them won’t stop. They will continue to tell their tales of woe and misery about these types of ordinances. The good news is that, more often than not, the right side is winning these arguments and those cloaking themselves in religion are losing.

Times have changed, and people are too. Good job Carmel. May the State of Indiana follow your example.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hogsett Releases Ninth TV Ad

Last Monday, Joe Hogsett released his ninth TV ad. This one is called “Cleanup” and addresses the problem of abandoned properties in Indianapolis.

So, if you’re keeping track:

Ad 1-Established Joe’s credentials

Ad 2-Established Joe’s backstory with his father’s accident

Ad 3-More backstory along with Joe’s work as a federal prosecutor to fight crime.

Ad 4-Discussed setting up a Summer Jobs Program for teens

Ad 5-Took us to Joe’s home in Rushville largely in a biographical ad

Ad 6-Discussed the 30-year moratorium on streetlights and crime

Ad 7-Offered hints for parents to keep kids safe from online predators

Ad 8-Talked about Joe’s cheap nature in that he would not buy new sneakers

Chuck Brewer’s ad posted here a few days ago also ran during the Colts game on Sunday. I have yet to see it play again. It’s largely a biographical ad covering similar themes as Greg Ballard’s ads from the past.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Meyers Takes Down Right's Planned Parenthood Hearings Farce

It took him a while, but Seth Meyers has finally eased into the chair of the Late Night franchise and is comfortable as its host.

He's done it by taking what he did best over on SNL and highlighting a lot of it.  For example, he epic-ly and expertly takes down the right's witch hunt Congressional hearings on Planned Parenthood in this clip below.

Excellent work, Seth.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Visit & Experience Indy, Secretary Clinton

Clinton's e-mail gaffe
Photo courtesy the
One of Hillary Clinton's e-mails released this past week mentioned our fair city.

She called our city "basketball-crazed Indianoplace."

I can handle the first part.  Indiana is basketball-crazed.  You'll find me attending tons of Indiana high school basketball games this fall, winter, and into the spring.  I completely agree with that.  It's the second part of her comment to which I take umbrage.

The e-mail in question was written in 2010.  That was two years after Hillary Clinton, locked in a battle with Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, crisscrossed the Hoosier State stumping for votes.  In the end, she narrowly defeated Obama to win the Indiana Primary.  The margin was much closer than it was supposed to have been and coupled with other primary defeats, the writing on the wall became more clear.  Clinton's historic run for President was on life support.

Here we are, eight years later.  Hillary Clinton is again running for President of the United States.  It's unclear whether Indiana will matter in the larger scope of the campaign at this point, but Clinton is locked in a tight battle with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in Iowa and New Hampshire, two critical early states in the primary process.  Joe Biden is dipping his toe into the water to see if he might run for President.  In short, things aren't going well for Clinton, who, like 2008, was seen at one point as the inevitable nominee.

It's gaffes like the e-mail insult of Indianapolis that cause Clinton to lose support.  She seems aloof and comes across as not a nice person regardless of her obvious qualities and qualifications that might make her a good President.  After all the time running ragged in this state, Clinton's words about Indianapolis carry more weight to me.  This just isn't some throwaway comment, and, at least for me, it hits home.

Except for my time in Bloomington at Indiana, I've lived all my life in or around Indianapolis.  I love this city, and I can remember when people derisively called it "Indianoplace" because it was, frankly, not the most exciting city on the planet.  Today, we're still not New York City or Las Vegas, but our city has built the strong reputation of being a smaller city with big dreams and aspirations.  Our city has become a regional center for the arts, for entertainment, and a worldwide host of some of the most major events on the planet.  Indianapolis is home to magnificent facilities and restaurants and budding neighborhoods.

Yes, we have our problems.  In the last two years alone, over 200 homicides have been committed.  We have a problem with homelessness we need to tackle, and we have a cadre of other issues that the next Mayor will deal with on day one when he steps into his office.

We are no longer Indianoplace, and our city deserves an apology from Secretary Clinton.

It's these kinds of gaffes that concern me most about her candidacy.  Hillary Clinton might be a great President, but she certainly isn't a great candidate.  Again, I don't mean her qualifications or accomplishments.  She's more than qualified.  Her resume is full.  She fails where Joe Biden succeeds.  Biden is warm, friendly, and regular.  Hillary seems none of the three.

She doesn't have to soften up to be elected, but maybe she needs to, as Reagan once did, "shine a light on her problem."

By and large, this e-mail controversy has been contrived by the right to discredit Hillary.  This "Indianoplace" e-mail is not a problem for her except regionally, but there's an opportunity here for her to make it right.

Take one day off the campaign trail and come visit Indianapolis and see what we have to offer. Hoosiers are nice, forgiving people, Secretary Clinton, so come on over.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Campaign Crunchtime Hits

It's October 2.

So far, no one has released an official poll in the race for Mayor of Indianapolis.

Joe Hogsett
Chuck Brewer
Rumors say that polling has been done and that it is not particularly good news for Chuck Brewer, but Joe Hogsett said he's going to run this race through the finish line like he's "20 points behind."

Hogsett has saturated the market with a variety of TV and radio ads.  We've learned all about him and have even gotten to hear about his plans for the city as Mayor.  The public at large still doesn't know Chuck Brewer, but the Republicans still are trying to roll him out in the public persona of Mayor Greg Ballard II.

On the stump, Hogsett rarely refers to his opponent and instead focuses on what he would do as Mayor of Indianapolis.  He leans heavily on his experience and his record as United States Attorney.

Brewer himself might have tipped the narrative of the last month of the campaign earlier this week at the Decatur Township Civic Council Meeting when he indirectly attacked Hogsett as a career politician who's running for Mayor of Indianapolis to satisfy some need to "be somebody."

To describe his own candidacy, Brewer used the familiar Ballard lines of, "I'm a Marine not a politician," and touted his experience at Sears and as a business owner as qualifications to become the head honcho of the City of Indianapolis and Marion County.

Democrats in the know say to watch for the Brewer campaign to hit with nasty, negative ads the last few weeks of the campaign. They still should have that $400,000 check Mayor Ballard wrote the Brewer campaign after he won the nomination.  With a skilled campaign team, that money can go a long way in the last few weeks.

Whatever happens, there are just a few more ads, tactics, and political plays to unfold before us.  It's crunch time!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Indy Democrat Blog Endorses John Gregg

John Gregg
All political winds say it’s going to be John Gregg vs. Mike Pence II coming up in 2016 for Indiana Governor whether some Democrats like it or not.

That’s fine with me.

In fact, I endorse John Gregg for Governor of Indiana in 2016.

Now, I understand that may cause some of you to apoplectically hurl something towards the computer, and I get it.

You’re not sold on John Gregg. You think he’s not liberal enough or progressive enough. You are disturbed by his views on a woman’s right to choose or perhaps penalizing him for his past opposition to same sex marriage or believe he’s too close to groups like ALEC.

I share some of your concerns. I do, but here’s the truth. It’s going to take a lot of money and a lot of time to knock off Mike Pence in November of 2016, but it’s critical that Democrats do it. John Gregg has shown the ability to be the candidate to do it.

Yes, he’s anti-choice, but he’s not going to cut off the funding of Planned Parenthood. No, he’s not a perfect candidate for a progressive, but I think he’s a good candidate for Governor of Indiana.

From double digits down in the last month of the 2012 race, Gregg closed to within three percentage points when the votes were counted. He did it by learning from his mistakes in the early campaign and with a sharp message directed right at Pence.

It turns out mostly what he said about Pence in 2012 was right. The Governor has been anything but a unifying force in this state. He’s done almost everything he could to divide us. He’s also shown a lack of pure understanding about how state government works and at times how to make policy with his own supermajorities. In a state of a weak governor, Pence has been weakest.

Gregg has the ability to work across the aisle and bring Indiana back from the laughingstock it has become for the rest of the nation.

Now make no mistake, if you thought Pence had a tough job, Gregg will have an even tougher one. He’s going to be the lone Democrat gear in a system the Republicans think has worked pretty well for a while, but that’s another reason why Gregg is perfectly suited for the challenge.

The challenges of working with a 50-50 House of Representatives when he was Speaker certainly tested his abilities.

Electing a Democrat to the Governor’s Office would be a huge first step to rebuilding a majority to help Governor Gregg pass an agenda. To get there, Gregg needs the time and the resources it's going to take to defeat Pence.

I have been blessed to have four very long conversations with John Gregg. One was at his house in Sandborn, and three others have been on the phone. One thing that struck me each time was how curious Gregg is. He genuinely wants to hear what people think and what people are thinking. I also think that some are being unfair to John because his opinions have changed. Gregg 2016 is a bit more progressive and a lot less prescriptive than Gregg 2012 was. I think he’s more open to suggestion than perhaps before. He knows enough to know he doesn’t know it all.

John Gregg has done the work to earn not only my endorsement but those of unions, politicians, and others across the state. I wish him well in doing what he has to do to FIRE MIKE PENCE.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Who Is Jud McMillin?

We probably should have seen the mess with former State Rep. Jud McMillin coming.

Former blogger and friend of the blog, Bil Browning penned a long, damning post on McMillin in 2011 for his Bilerico Project blog.  The blog has since been discontinued, but the content is still up on the internet.  He added this piece just today his new capacity as a writer for the Advocate.

Translation: Jud McMillin's public persona was a carefully-crafted facade to hide an alleged dark side.

I urge you to take a look at the Bilerico Project report.

McMillin Resigns As Video Emerges

Former Rep. Jud McMillin
Indiana State Representative Jud McMillin shocked his caucus and politicos around the state by announcing he would resign his seat in the Indiana House citing family concerns.  Eyebrows were raised.

Turns out, according to the Indianapolis Star and other sources, an explicit video was has emerged, and McMillin's phone is the one that sent it.  McMillin had sent a befuddling text preemptively apologizing to anyone receiving anything offensive from him because his phone had been stolen.  

Everything suddenly made sense.

It's another sad end for an Indiana lawmaker.  McMillin, a sponsor this past session of the divisive RFRA legislation, was first elected in 2010 to the General Assembly defeating longtime Rep. Bob Bischoff. His rise has been meteoric through the Republican ranks.

His fall came even more quickly.

As I've said before when these things happen, I take no joy in commenting on them, and I tend to keep the unseemly off this blog.  I find that no one is perfect...least of all our elected officials.  It's just too bad that some seem to be so hypocritical.   

Mary Beth Schneider, a former veteran Indianapolis Star Statehouse reporter and current great Twitter follow summed up McMillin's resignation from the House better than I ever could.

Then later...

McMillin's caucus will replace his leadership position, and a group of precinct committeepeople will convene to see who will take over his seat in the General Assembly.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Brewer Attacks Hogsett at Civic Council Forum

Greg Ballard chats with Chuck Brewer
Photo courtesy of Facebook
Last night, Chuck Brewer spoke in front of the Decatur Township Civic Council.

For the most part, he was very polished, a little boring, and had a seemed to have a good grasp of the issues.  Some of his proposals raised some eyebrows.

For one, he said he would solve some neighborhood zoning fights by offering developers free use of brownfield land in other parts of the city.  This is something that has been used successfully in other locales, but you might wonder what a program like this would cost in Marion County.

Brewer criticized Mayor Ballard's administration for spending more money than it takes in.  "You wouldn't operate your own business or balance your checkbook that way," said the restaurateur.  Brewer, however, talked about costly program after costly program he hoped to institute as Mayor.

He was also asked a question about how he would improve public education in the city.  After explaining that the Mayor has no formal role in public education, Brewer touted Mayor Ballard's use of charter schools as expanding choice for parents and students.  He said that charter schools, on average, achieve at a rate ten times better than traditional public schools.

I guess that depends on what measure you look at.  Last November, WTHR did a report showing that about half of Indiana's charter schools were not performing to anyone's liking.  Chalkbeat also reported more trouble with achievement in Indianapolis' charters earlier this month.

Every time a charter school is created, a public school is created.  Brewer seemed oblivious to this fact.  The Mayor very much is a player in the public schools in Indianapolis.

Did Brewer seem Mayoral? I would say that he seemed more polished than Ballard did when he took on Bart Peterson in 2007, but I don't think he's anywhere near as ready as Joe Hogsett is to lead the city.

Some of the harshest words of the night were reserved for Hogsett.  Brewer never addressed him by name, but he said that he became concerned enough to run for Mayor when Hogsett or "my opponent" entered the race.  Brewer said that he wants to be someone who runs for Mayor, does good for his city, and goes back to being a citizen and a father.

He indirectly accused Hogsett of running because of the need "to be somebody" and someone who runs for office again and again to fill that need.

Even in a Democrat room, I have yet to hear Hogsett speak ill of Brewer.