I'll admit, I haven't followed the local offices up for election in November too closely, so here's to me making up for lost time.
This is a campaign ad from John Layton, a colonel in the Marion County Sheriff's Department (MCSD). And that ad makes me question if Layton actually understand what the Sheriff's Department does, or if he's trying to capitalize off of the public's ignorance.
I think it's the latter. While people like myself and most of my readers know that MCSD has no law enforcement duties, the general public might not. After all, it wasn't all that long ago that the consolidated police department ended up with current Sheriff Frank Anderson in charge. So I can see where the confusion might be.
But let's be clear. MCSD has few law enforcement duties. They manage the jails, handle the sex offender registry, and a few other administrative duties, as seen here. And I think Layton is capitalizing on that ignorance.
A few days ago, fellow blogger Jon Easter of Indy Democrat wrote a post praising Layton and trashing his opposition, Republican nominee Sergeant Dennis Fishburn. And while Jon isn't a partisan hack like some on the Democratic side are, he missed the mark on this one. Something I found odd was that he criticized Fishburn's lack of in-depth explanation on the issues, as seen in these admittedly brief comments made on Fishburn's Youtube channel.
In contrast, Layton had a website that had little more than a picture, an embedded Youtube video, and a quote. Oh, and an annoying GoDaddy! banner at the top informing the viewer that the site was hosted for free. They've since cleaned up the site and made it look slightly better, but you can still see the old, Geocities-era style site here in the Google cache.
And it really doesn't make Layton look better once the site comes back online. His "The Issues" portion of the site consists of two issues.
So let's be honest. There really isn't a whole lot of issues we really need to talk about and go into detail on. We assume that the MCSD will continue to carry on the required duties such as investigating into gang activity and managing the sex offender registry. But what can be done differently and more efficiently?
And that's where Layton fails as a candidate. Layton recently said "You're not going to be protected on the cheap, folks. . . . There is no fat on the Marion County Sheriff's Department."** This is absolutely appalling, especially since the MCSD has recently acquired brand new cars and motorcycles and, as I've noticed, is giving their hand-me-downs to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. I guess deputies really need motorcycles to...transport inmates from their cell to a court room, or to race to the City-County Building for an emergency data entry into the sex offender registry! If you want a MCSD that spends frivolously despite less duties, Layton is your man.
**I originally linked to the Indy Star article in this place, but the URL was screwed up, so I changed to a link to Gary Welsh's blog that covers the quote.
However, if you want a MCSD who is knowledgeable about the waste within the department, Dennis Fishburn is worth listening to. I had the opportunity to meet with Fishburn at IUPUI's Political Palooza. And to my surprise, he was as knowledgeable as I was about the issues I bought to his attention, and enthusiastic into implementing change. I told him that I was a Bart McAtee supporter in the primary, but he had nothing but good things to say about his former opponent. I went into that conversation thinking I'd be casting an anti-Layton/Anderson vote on November 2, but I think I'll be casting a pro-Fishburn vote instead.
For a "lower ballot" office, he and his campaign workers were very enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and were quick to address questions and concerns.
He's not the perfect candidate. His support for the Wishard referendum isn't a positive for me, but he isn't running for a spot on the Health and Hospital municipal corporation's board. He's running for Sheriff, and he has an open mind on bringing the MCSD into an era where fiscal discipline is a necessity for the entire city, something that Colonel Layton is adamantly opposed to.
For some excellent reading on the type of practices Layton is supporting and Anderson has carried out, Paul Ogden has written a series of articles on Anderson and the management of the jails as well as some budgetary issues. Here is the Google search of it.
One final thought. Can Fishburn win? I'm not certain. It's a Democratic county, but Republicans have overcome that hump before. I'm sure us politicos will be getting a better feel for the county races as we get closer to November.