Thursday, February 25, 2010

Constitution Schmonstitution: "Guns-In-Parks" Prop Tabled

Reports are in from Twitter (thanks Abdul) that the so-called "guns-in-parks" ordinance was tabled at the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting that took place at Garfield Park earlier tonight. For those who don't speak "council" language, it means it did not get a vote on the proposal itself. They just decided to stop discussion for tonight. It could be up for further discussion on future agendas, or it could be completely ignored. I'll update this post as needed if watching the recording on Channel 16 yields any new information.

As for the vote itself, it speaks volumes of how much the council actually cares about citizens' rights. Specifically, the Republican majority on the council, and Mayor Greg Ballard. Council president Ryan Vaughn took to the airwaves of WIBC (93.1 FM) and WXNT (1040 AM) complaining about how Coleman hadn't talked to other council representatives about it before proposing it. Mayor Greg Ballard echoes the stance of the anti-gun crowd in saying (via The Indianapolis Star):

"We want moms to feel safe in the park taking their kids," Ballard said. "People are happy with how (the policy) is."

Ryan Vaughn's complaint about how the proposal wasn't vetted before being introduced might have some merit if Coleman was still a Republican. But I have never heard of an actual rule or a general courtesy where other parties give a "heads up" on what legislation they'd like to propose. I don't see the point in doing so either. The time to vet legislation is in the legislative body itself, specifically, the committee that's assigned to do so. There, other representatives can amend the proposal and then vote on it. And as an added bonus, it's a completely open and public forum. I think it's a ludcrious suggestion to think Vaughn's caucus run their proposals by the Democrats and vice-versa, so why apply this standard only to the Libertarian?

Mayor Ballard's reasoning is disturbing to a much further extent. Francesca Jarosz of The Indianapolis Star wrote an article shortly after the proposal was introduced to the full council noting Mayor Ballard's gun control beliefs:


It has drawn resistance from gun violence opponents, who say allowing more guns in parks poses a safety risk.

Ballard stopped short of making that argument, but he said allowing guns in parks could make people feel less secure.

"We want moms to feel safe in the park taking their kids," Ballard said. "People are happy with how (the policy) is."


"The mayor spent 23 years in the Marine Corps defending the Constitution," said Robert Vane, Ballard's deputy chief of staff. "He has never proposed anything that would restrict or change current gun laws."

Ballard making the argument that mothers won't feel safe if citizens are allowed to carry their legal firearms into city parks is a very telling statement. At best, it's a fumble from someone who is relatively new to politics. At worst, it characterizes women as spineless and aren't able to deal with even seeing a gun (but yknow, us MEN can, because guns are MANLY).

As noted in Indiana's own Frequently Asked Questions on firearms, there are no restrictions to where a licensed handgun owner can carry his or her own handgun. Businesses may prohibit, but that's it. Local government also has the ability to prohibit, according to the FAQ, but I can't find any corresponding part of the IN State Code that allows that (remember, state law is silent on carrying handguns in public).

So handguns might be carried anywhere. Even concealed. Are these mothers Ballard is talking about afraid to walk into state parks (Governor Mitch Daniels repealed the state parks ban himself), national parks (President Barack Obama signed it into law as an amendment to a credit card reform bill), or any of the hundreds of other places firearms are allowed in Indiana?

Now, let's leave this school of thought that Ballard and the council are doing something that goes against the constitution, or using authority that isn't derived from the state (IE they don't have it at all). Let's think about public safety.

Park Rangers, which is a department of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, covers thousands of acres of park land across the entire city. Compare that to almost every other government building, which has metal detectors and armed security (sheriffs, IMPD, private security, etc...) in a relatively small space.

So, here's my challenge to the City-County Council, specifically the Republicans, since they have the majority. You refuse to let citizens exercise their right to self-defense by carrying a firearm. That's fine. I've got a life. I'm not going to take you to court. But being in a city park basically lets the criminals know that no one is armed, and more than likely no Park Ranger is going to be nearby. Come up with a comprehensive proposal to increase security in our parks. It could've been done for free, but now, put your money where your mouth is.

EDIT: The coverage Shabazz may be telling of how he REALLY feels of the right to bear arms. Shabazz initially reported that there were 12 at the meeting tonight with only two speaking publicly presenting a 50-50 split (here). Mike Jezierski of Hoosier Access corrected Shabazz, saying that 12-15 spoke publicly with 30-40 in the room (here). Shabazz was also hosting Cocktails and Conversation at Rick's Boatyard Cafe. Maybe he wasn't at the committee meeting. But still, how do you get two people speaking from 12?

If he wasn't, all the more reason to verify the facts rather than go on unreliable information. Channel 16 seems to already have had an airing or two of the committee meeting, and has a few going on tomorrow. I'll verify what I can then and throw in my two cents.

On the meeting itself, Jezierski wrote extensively over at Hoosier Access. He notes that Councilor Lincoln Plowman (who is on paid leave from his job at IMPD pending the completion of an internal investigation) said he supports the ordinance but was concerned it could violate state law that bans firearms on or near school property and voted to table it. Councilor Plowman, this is what the committee process is for. To add amendments to proposed legislation! Two Democrats and one Republican joined him in voting to table.

What's interesting is seeing who voted against tabling. Vernon Brown, a Democrat, supports the legislation. Monroe Gray voted against tabling, but it's no secret that he's against the proposal. Mike Speedy was the lone Republican voting against tabling.

Hopefully they're tabling it pending further discussion. Maybe watching the meeting tomorrow will reveal some details.

UPDATE: After reviewing the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting on Channel 16, there is one time near the end of the public comments (right before Sean Shepard speaks) where the camera pans to the crowd. I estimate that about 20 people were in the seats and 12 people speaking, with only two being against the proposed ordinance. Jezierski's slightly higher estimate could've come from people leaving from earlier in the meeting, since it isn't unusual for some members of the public to leave after having their time to speak. This should teach all who participate in reporting, traditional media and bloggers alike, to verify their facts before reporting them.

Over in some forum posts at, some were criticizing a few council members vote on tabling the proposal. Remember that tabling the ordinance does not express support (or lack of), but it means to end the discussion. When a proposal is tabled, it can only be bought back again by ANOTHER vote to open up discussion on it. This is where the current smoking ban languishes, and is likely where Coleman's proposal will too.

Lincoln Plowman (R), who is an IMPD officer on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation, expressed his support for the Second Amendment. He then bought up the ban on guns being carried in and around school grounds, which is a state law, and how parks near schools could come into conflict if this proposal passed.

So he proposed an amendment to fix these problems.

Ah, who am I kidding. He moved to table the ordinance, which is an underhanded way of killing it.

The following are the votes on tabling:

To table:
Lincoln Plowman (R-25th)
William Oliver (D-10th)
Janice McHenry (R-6th)
Susie Day (R-20th)

Continue discussion:
Vernon Brown (D-18th)
Monroe Gray (D-8th)
Mike Speedy (R-24th)

Monroe Gray's vote to continue discussion threw me off, since he expressed that he would never support the proposal in any way, shape, or form. Maybe he thinks it'd be wise to permanently kill it at a full council vote than let it languish in committee?

Vernon Brown said that he believes that gun owners with the proper permits should be able to carry in parks. He expressed concern that tabling would end the discussion and the bill would effectively die in committee without an actual vote. He then asked if Day, who is the chairman of the committee, plans on putting the proposal on a future agenda. Day's answer was vague at best, but I won't be surprised if it never shows up on an agenda again.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On a Personal Note

I'm getting over a slight sinus infection. So remember all of the stories I said were coming up a few posts back? They'll be delayed slightly.

But while I'm here, the Indiana General Assembly is past their halfway point. I encourage everyone to try to get involved. Their website is here and you can see a daily schedule of the House and the Senate to the right.

The Indianapolis City-County Council is also having a meeting at the end of February, and committee meetings before then. You can search what's going on at the City-County Building here.

Indianapolis lawyer and fellow blogger Paul Ogden is running for a seat on the Pike Township School Board. You can read about his candidacy over at his blog, Ogden On Politics.

Finally, mass transit has been the talk-of-the-town lately. You can see a schedule of events at Indy Connect. The blog Indy Tax Dollars has been doing their own coverage which I highly recommend.

Friday, February 12, 2010

IMPD Helicopters: Where Did the Money Go?

From Fox 59 News:

INDIANAPOLIS - In 2009 they cost 1.2 million to operate. Some police tell Fox59 they're angry at the cuts saying the copters are an important tool in the police toolbox to fight crime. They say Mayor Ballard campaigned policing and community safety was his number one priority.

"Yes, it concerns me a lot how are they going to catch the criminal if they don't have helicopters," said Brenda Kent, an eastside resident.

"He's actually not living up to what he said," said Janice Hall, an eastside resident. "Sometimes (politicians) say what they have to say, just to get elected."

The helicopters were reportedly used to track convicted murderer Brian Reese who shot officer Jason Fishburn and hunt for the two killers in the Hamilton Avenue Murders.

"They should find the money for it. They shouldn't cut it," said Hall.

Mayor Ballard would not comment directly on the apparent cuts saying he has never wavered in his commitment to public safety and the citizens of Indianapolis.

Public Safety director Frank Straub said the helicopters are extremely expensive to operate and there must be clarity about their effectives.

State police maintain four helicopters at an annual operating cost of about 1.4 million dollars.

Other Midwest cities have helicopters including Columbus that has six, Louisville that has one, Chicago has two.

There's a few interesting tidbits in this story, as well as a theory that I have about where this money went.

First, it's important to remember that the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is one of the few that walked out as winners of the 2010 city-county budget. Their funds actually increased. So the premise that budget cuts are hurting them are ridiculous. $1.2 million magically vanished. It's much more likely that it was shuffled elsewhere.

Mayor Greg Ballard, when introducing the budget to the City-County Council way back in 2009, said that a federal grant would cover hiring and training new officers. A separate grant the city applied for, but did not know if they got at the time the budget was approved, would cover the cars. It was later discovered that IMPD didn't have a ghost of a chance at the $1.7 million grant, as seen in this previous post.

The city has also stepped up their efforts on collecting parking citations, as documented by WISH-TV. In a box to the left side of the story, it notes that the city would like to use $1.3 million to purchase 20 new cop cars.

My theory is the city is combining the money marked for the IMPD helicopters and money collected from the parking citations into a pool to pay for the new IMPD vehicles. It makes sense, since parking citation money goes into the general fund after T-2, the company that manages the Parking "Court", takes their cut.

But the best part of the story is the State Police operate twice as many helicopters for less money, $1.2 million instead of $1.4. I'd sure like to know why that is.

One of the comments on another blog said this could be an ideal situation for IMPD and State Police to pool their resources for this very expensive equipment. I'd rather that happen than have two helicopters just sit and collect dust, especially in light of the fairly high homicide rate we had in January.

WISH TV's Parking Fines story

I'm in the news again. You can read the article here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Indianapolis Business Journal's Editorial on the Superbowl and Copyright

While reading Indy Tax Dollars, I noticed this entry cited an unlinked editorial from the pages of the Indianapolis Business Journal. After some searching, I found the editorial:

So ... how ’bout that Super Bowl?

This year’s gridiron battle between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV has been the talk of the town, to be sure. Sort of.

Despite all the buzz about the Colts’ second trip in four years to the National Football League championship, it’s nearly impossible to find a public reference to the Super Bowl. That’s not because of a lack of civic pride—sports-crazy Indianapolis is in its element when it has a hometown contender.

No, it seems the NFL doesn’t want anyone to call the Super Bowl the Super Bowl.


Yep, the league has trademarked “Super Bowl”—along with “Super Sunday” and “NFL”—and is notorious for the lengths it will go to in order to protect its brands. Its stance: Commercial uses of the protected words by anyone other than paid sponsors lowers the value of the (multimillion-dollar) sponsorships. Businesses that dare to call the Super Bowl by name could find themselves on the receiving end of a legal smackdown. Same goes for any reference to NFL teams, which also are trademarked.

Hence, the ubiquitous references to “The Big Game” by bars, restaurants, retailers and others who stand to benefit from consumers’ interest in the Super Bowl. In fact, use of “The Big Game” as a euphemism for the Super Bowl is so widespread that the NFL filed paperwork in 2006 to trademark that phrase, too. In a rare show of restraint, it later dropped the request.

OK, let’s get this straight: The NFL has spent 44 years building a brand that has instant name recognition. Say “Super Bowl” (if you dare) and people know what you’re talking about. But instead of reveling in its ability to make the Super Bowl so much more than a football game, the league goes to extreme lengths to squeeze every penny out of it. Talk about super greedy.

For whatever reason, the Super Bowl is an event most fans don’t want to watch alone. Only two cities send teams to compete each year, but Super Bowl parties are common nationwide. Whip up a pot of chili, buy a case of beer, turn on your new widescreen TV, and you have an instant celebration. Want to avoid the mess? Head to the neighborhood hangout and cheer on your favorite team. That’s part of what makes the Super Bowl the Super Bowl instead of just another football game.

So why shouldn’t that neighborhood hangout be able to promote its Super Bowl party? Why can’t the grocery store urge customers to stop in for Super Bowl refreshments? Does letting the electronics store advertise its pre-Super Bowl sale really hurt the sponsors whose messages will be delivered on that new TV?

We understand why the NFL cracks down on unlicensed merchandise, as reporter Scott Olson wrote about in a Friday story on, even if we think the league sometimes takes enforcement too far. But forbidding businesses from simply using the name is ridiculous. It’s the Super Bowl, and everyone should be able to call it that.

Despite how much I agree with the editorial, it misses the forest for the trees. It is only because of the lax trademark laws (or possibly, how lax the enforcement is) that have led to this problem. While the National Football League gets some criticism around Super Bowl time every year, this is not just one organization abusing trademarks.

McDonald's has threatened or bought forth legal action numerous times for others that have dared to use the letters "Mc" in their business' name. A spokesman for McDonald's said:

"We have made a significant investment over the years to build up the reputation for restaurant services and food itmes associated with this trademark and also of the golden arches logo, which is also registered.

"If someone, either deliberately, or unintentionally, uses our trademarks in their own food or retaurant-related business they are effectively using something that does not belong to them."

McDonald's also forced Elizabeth McCaughey, owner of the business formally known as McCoffee, to change the name of her business even though it had been in operation for 17 years, as seen here.

So kudos to the Indianapolis Business Journal for bringing up the issue, but it is a far larger problem than just the NFL's abuse of it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Superbowl 2012: My concerns

When I spoke out at the City-County Council meeting on February 1st, I briefly mentioned that I was concerned about how Indianapolis may look with the world's eye on it in 2012 due to the Superbowl.

Take a look at downtown Indianapolis. Not too far from the city-county building, there's an apparently abandoned building that looks like it was in the middle of construction or renovation. Right across the street from the Central library, there's a church that is just sitting there, locked and not in use. It's slowly turning from a parking lot with an ugly building by it to an eye sore. A similar church can be seen just off of Massachusetts Avenue, except this one is boarded up. And then of course, just a few blocks away from the Children's Museum, is the former site of Winona Hospital.

While the city's Indy Land Bank has taken possession of the site and cleaned it up and boarded the broken windows and unlocked doors, the fact remains that the city owned the site for over a year and allowed it to fall into an asbestos infected site, probably destroying the building's viability as a possible hospital for the neighborhood. While the city let it go to pot, squatters broke in and used it as their living space. It's only a matter of time before the city forgets about it again and this saga repeats itself.

One of my initial projects I wanted to start when this blog launched was a series on abandoned buildings. I was inspired, partially, by The Indianapolis Star's Star Watch column. This column publishes information about abandoned and neglected buildings, such as who owns it. However, the Star mislead readers on who owned the Winona Hospital site as I documented in this blog entry.

So this is one of my concerns. That when the world is watching us in 2012 hosting the Superbowl, some young journalist will walk a few blocks outside of the main activities and see the abandoned and neglected buildings that dot the areas around and just outside of downtown Indianapolis. I often hear about how to make this a "world class city", but before we get there, we have to take care of the basics first. Throughout the next few weeks, I'll be highlighting information on abandoned and neglected sites that I see in my daily travels. The challenge will be to get public records on who owns the properties, which may cause a delay in publishing these stories. It will also offer me additional insight as to how township government, which maintains property records, deals with public records requests.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Warming up to Ryan Vaughn as President of the Council?

So in this whole circus of Republican Mayor Greg Ballard saying he'll veto the "guns-in-parks" proposal, we have this comment from newly elected President of the City-County Council, Ryan Vaughn (via The Indianapolis Star):

Ryan Vaughn, the Republican council president, said the mayor's initial opposition to the proposal would not keep it from going through the process.

"The mayor is one of 900,000 residents in Marion County," Vaughn said. "We need to hear from all the parties and do our due diligence, and at the end of that process, if the mayor still feels like he wants to veto the proposal, that's his role in government."

Kudos, Mr. Vaughn. The council has their job, the mayor has his, and they don't always have to agree. I hope we see action behind these words, because it is very promising from a relatively young politician.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mayor Ballard Will Veto "Guns-In-Parks" Ordinance

From WTHR:

Indianapolis - A move to allow guns in city parks is raising a stir. While proponents see it as a gun rights issue, critics see it as nothing but trouble.

Monday, Libertarian City-County Councilor Ed Coleman introduced a proposal that would let people with gun permits carry firearms in city parks. While Coleman could not be reached Monday, it's a change his party strongly supports.

Chris Spangle is Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana.

"State law allows [guns] in state parks, federal law in federal parks. We're asking lawmakers to give us the right to protect ourselves in dangerous situations," said Spangle.

Fraternal Order of Police President Bill Owensby said he backs the move.

"People with gun permits are law-abiding citizens. It's the ones without permits that the law doesn't matter to anyway," said Owensby.


But perhaps the biggest obstacle is Republican Mayor Greg Ballard who vowed to veto the proposal if it reaches his desk.

"I don't support it. Never hear about this. People were happy where it is. I just don't support it. I think things are fine the way they are," the mayor said.

Now, I don't know if anyone has noticed, but the Republican Party has traditionally been the party of gun owners. They want less regulation so that citizens that own their legal firearm can exercise their inherent right (as specified, but not given by, both the United States and Indiana Constitution) to carry them on their person for protection.

Keep in mind that both national parks and state parks ALREADY allow citizens to carry their firearms. I see this proposal not as some radical idea, but simply lining up with what's happened elsewhere. Usually it's the cities that are ahead of the state and federal governments. A bit strange that it's backwards.

But what's interesting most of all is Mayor Greg Ballard saying he'll veto it. Why does he think Indianapolis should be different, in this area, than the state and nation? While the pro-gun segment isn't likely going to vote for a Democratic mayoral candidate, they'll be more than willing to not support Mayor Ballard in the primary, or just not vote at all in the general.

Monday, February 1, 2010

For my non-Twitter readers:

I went to the City-County Council meeting tonight and was given the opportunity to speak out on Stuart Lowry's re-appointment as the head of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Lowry has had a mixed bag with the Parks Department, but I don't think he is acting as an advocate for Parks as other department heads have done for their departments. Year after year, and this isn't a Democrat or Republican issue, it's completely bipartisan, the Parks department budget gets slashed and burned. We are in a recession, but the Parks Dept. is being cut into more than any other department. Parks spending has gone from $29 million in 2007 to $27 million in the 2010 budget, and is likely going to continue facing cuts. Cities such as Nashville, TN and Fort Wayne, IN spend about $51 per citizen on city parks, whereas Indianapolis spends $31, according to the Indianapolis Star.

As I mentioned on my Twitter page, I had a friendly conversation with Mr. Lowry shortly after I spoke. I told him I wish him well and was glad he was able to take the criticism in stride, but I just am not convinced that he is an advocate to Mayor Ballard on city parks. All I want is the parks, during budget cut times, to be treated like all the other agencies getting cut, instead of the slash and burning that's going on now.

I'd like to once again thank the council for allowing public comment during a full council meeting. More on THAT later.

Indianapolis City-County Council Meeting Tonight

A full view of what's on the agenda is here. The following are some items of interest that I found:

To be voted on:

  • Prop 12 of 2010 appoints Stuary Lowry as the Director of Parks and Recreations. I was half an hour off in getting to the committee meeting on time, but I was told by someone exiting the meeting that there was no call for public comment. I have e-mailed my district council representative,Maggie Lewis (D-District 7), as well as the At-Large representatives, and hope a public comment can be added to the City-Council meeting before the council takes it's vote. I can live with my own fault if I missed my opportunity to have my voice heard, but it was never given a chance. The council should rectify that tonight.
  • Prop 22 of 2010 amends a few parts of council ethic requirements and how to file complaints and handle them.

The following proposals are only being introduced to the council:

  • Prop 30 approves Dennis G. Papenmeier as hearing office to preside over "administrative adjudication" of parking citations. If my definition of "adjudication" is accurate, this probably means Mr. Papenmeier will be presiding over the Parking "Court" that I've blogged extensively on. This will be referred to the Administration and Finance Committee.
  • Prop 33 reappoints Michael Halstead else to the huge City Market Corporate Board of Directors. The City-Market's board is bloated and needs focused leadership, not more bureaucrats. Mr. Halstead is probably not the person to provide that, since he's been on the board since 2006. His background (surprise) is architecture. Here is his resume and here is his Linkedin profile.
  • Prop 32 is funding various activities within the Mayor's Office of Education Innovation.
  • Prop 35 is to fund two city-supported not-for-profit corporates, Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association and Indianapolis Economic Development Inc., as well as the Mayor's Office of Education Innovation. This is a common legislature tactic to put funding for various groups in one proposal even though the groups don't necessarily have the same goal, or anything in common. This forces representatives to vote for or against the whole package, even though they may support part of it. What should be done is this proposal should be broken into three, with ICVA, IEDI, and the Mayor's Office of Education Innovation in each. Each should lay out a specific budget on what exactly they intend to do with the money. It is disturbing that all of the additional funding being proposed in all of the additional funding proposals is being tossed into Section 3(a)3's "Other Services and Charges" category, meaning little accountability can be expected or enforced.
  • Prop 36 will use a federal grant to fund EnderDel, a manufacturer of automotive lithium-ion batteries. I have previously expressed my concern at how much federal funding is propping up the budget of the City of Indianapolis, and am very concerned where all this money will come from once it dries up.
  • Prop 37 uses $400,000 in a state grant to fund fiber-optic cables and related equipment installed by Lockheed Martin Aspen Systems Corporation.
  • Edward Coleman (L-At Large) introduced another piece of legislation as well, Prop 39, to amend the ordinance banning firearms in city parks. This changes it so that law enforcement can carry their firearms into city parks, and that licensed firearm owners who can carry can also. It is still illegal to discharge any firearm unless it is in defense of self or others. This is sure to cause some controversy. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out.
The full council meeting will start at 7:00PM. Attend if you can.

Preview Post

I've got several stories somewhere between "think of something to write about" and "write the damn thing already." My professional obligations are winding down, and my academic work seems to be getting into a flow that is somewhat manageable, so more time for blogging. Here's a summary of what will be posted really, really soon:

  • My interview with former Mayor of Indianapolis, Bill Hudnut, will be posted soon. The cassette tape is sitting on my desk and I just got to sit down and learn how to transfer the audio from the cassette to my computer. I'm still debating on to if I should just post the raw audio, or post the raw audio and write an article as well.
  • On that note, Mayor Hudnut will be speaking to the Marion County Republican Party. You can read about his appearance, as well as how to attend, here.
  • I've filed a public records request with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. The white signs that restrict parking due to an "EMERGENCY ORDER" site a specific code in the lower right hand corner. I'll be posting pictures, and type up my original letter and what I received from City Legal late last week. You can read the sample letter that I used to base mine on over here. And for additional "fun", you can read the relevant Indiana Code over here.
  • I'm also trying to get down to the General Assembly to track legislation that I'm interested in, but I'm having the worst luck in getting down there in between my professional and academic obligations. It only happens at the beginning of the year, so I really want to start covering it as soon as possible. Senate Joint Resolution 7 (Marriage Amendment to the IN Constitution) passed in the Senate but is DOA in the House, and Senate Bill 192 (Domestic Partnerships and their rights) seems to be getting no traction in either legislative body.
  • I've also been "re-tweeting" or linking to several articles worth reading about the NFL and/or Superbowl. So go check out my Twitter page

And in news from other blogs:

  • The Indiana Law Blog reports that there is no Roll Call log on the votes for Senate Joint Resolution 7. The roll call is listed as Roll Call 67, but Roll Call 67 is not even in the log of all the Roll Calls.
  • Advance Indiana, IPOPA, and Ogden On Politics are all reporting on the 26 (of 29) City-Council reps who took the Colts up on the offer of purchasing two tickets to the Superbowl at $800 per ticket. At the time of this posting, Christine Scales (R) and Ed Coleman (L) have come out as two of the three council reps who did NOT purchase the tickets. As I speculated over at iPOPA, I believe Doris Minton-McNeil is the third since she is inactive at the council due to recovering from an illness. Paul Ogden also brings up that most of the council reps are of a fairly modest background and even being able to afford $1,600 for the tickets, it'd be a challenge to afford the associated travel costs. He's speculating that they are being sold to brokers. I'd also speculate they might be buying them on behalf of friends or family who can afford them.
  • The homicide rate jumped quite a bit in the last few days of January. Bart Lies has the number at 14. Let's pray for better (or in this case, slightly less worse) news in the future.
  • Finally, Abdul Hakim-Shabazz over at Indiana Barrister and Pat Andrews at Had Enough Indy? have been doing bang-up coverage of Indianapolis Public Schools and Decatur Township Schools respectively.
Let's do this more often!

UPDATE: Advance Indiana and iPOPA are now reporting all three council members who turned down the Colts. They are Edward Coleman (L-At Large), Christine Scales (R-4th) and Angela Mansfield (D-2nd). Angela Mansfield also said that all council members who purchased tickets had to sign an agreement saying they wouldn't re-sell the tickets at more than face value. Ms. Mansfield also said that it was disrespectful to assume the worst of intentions of council members. But to that, I ask Ms. Mansfield to look around at her company, who all too often skirt around ethical issues about lobbying and conflicts of interest.

Ms. Mansfield is an honorable representative of the people. She was the lone Democrat who showed up at a committee meeting on the Capital Improvement Board bailout and voted against it, and did the same during the full council vote. Other council members would be wise to learn a few lessons from her.