Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What is Carlos May Up To?

Carlos May was the slated GOP 7th Congressional district candidate, and lost in the primary to Marvin Scott. I sent a Facebook e-mail to him several days ago and he responded last weekend. He said that his previous campaign won't be his "last shot" at public office (I used the term first in a comment to him, and he responded using the same phrase). In the mean time, he'll be forming what he calls a May-November Group. This group will target races, both at the local and state level, that the GOP doesn't traditionally target.

Of course, part of getting elected is running a viable candidate, and not the same guy with the same ideas over and over and over again. With that in mind, I suggest that May's group target Indiana House district 86, where Kurt Webber is challenging Ed Delaney.

Speaking of Webber, I'll have a post up (hopefully with audio) by Friday on my interview with him. I'm still looking for hosting for the audio.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Child Protective Services Says Carmel "Hazing" was Criminal Deviate (Sexual) Conduct

Note: I have uploaded the CPS to my Google Docs for posterity. You can also find a link to download the report on most of the local television news stations. This blog entry, as well as the CPS report is very graphic in detail of what happened in these alleged cases of assault. I'll be honest and say that I'm close to tears after reading the CPS report.

A report prepared by Indiana Department of Child Services states that criminal deviant conduct is an appropriate charge for the alleged perpetrators in the Carmel High School hazing cover-up case. The report states that sexual harassment has been going on since November 2009, and that it progressively gets more physical as time goes on, culminating in the February 2010 incident that happened on a bus after a basketball game as the team made it's way home from Terre Haute. The victim sought treatment at Clarian North Medical Center's Emergency Room the following day after the incident on the bus.

The report goes into much more detail than the numerous, heavily redacted documents released earlier while the story was initially unfolding. The report identifies the four expelled students who are now charged with misdemeanor assault and criminal recklessness charges (Brandon Hoge, Robert Kitzinger, Oscar Falodun, Scott Laskowski). In November 2009, they started flashing their genitals to the victim. And since this wasn't enough, they started touching the victim's own genitals. Eventually, they started taking him into the shower in the locker rooms and forced their fingers up his anus while the victim's shorts were still on. The alleged perpetrators threatened to "beat his ass" if the victim told anyone. The victim says he'd shout for help from the lockers, and claims it happened before practice.

The incident on the bus is also more detailed than in previous accounts. The victim says he was trying to sleep, but heard three of his teammates (minus Falodun) calling his name. The victim went to the back of the bus where they were all sitting, and there was an awkward silence. Then, Laskowski grabbed the victim's legs, they all pulled off his sweat pants, and Hoge anally penetrated him. Kitzinger is claimed to have sat on top of the victim to muffle his cry for help, which apparently worked because no one came.

The most stunning part of the report is a quote from one of the witnesses, claiming it was "almost a daily thing" for Falodun, Laskowski, and Kitzinger to harass the victim.

Oscar Falodun was the only one of the four who agreed to be interviewed by DCS. His attorney and mother were also present. Falodun's interview isn't just coming at these scenes from a different perspective. Falodun claims "no one picked on him" and that the victim had a good time in the locker room. He claims any harassment was "just pushing and stuff" and not sexual in nature, and claims he has never mooned or "gooched" anyone, despite being presented with a witness statement saying he has.

The report goes on to list the relevant sections of Indiana law that define criminal deviant conduct.

IC 35-42-4-2
Criminal deviate conduct
Sec. 2. (a) A person who knowingly or intentionally causes another person to perform or submit to deviate sexual conduct when:
(1) the other person is compelled by force or imminent threat of force;
(2) the other person is unaware that the conduct is occurring; or
(3) the other person is so mentally disabled or deficient that consent to the conduct cannot be given;
commits criminal deviate conduct, a Class B felony.
(b) An offense described in subsection (a) is a Class A felony if:
(1) it is committed by using or threatening the use of deadly force;
(2) it is committed while armed with a deadly weapon;
(3) it results in serious bodily injury to any person other than a defendant; or
(4) the commission of the offense is facilitated by furnishing the victim, without the victim's knowledge, with a drug (as defined in IC 16-42-19-2(1)) or a controlled substance (as defined in IC 35-48-1-9) or knowing that the victim was furnished with the
drug or controlled substance without the victim's knowledge.
One of the attorneys for the accused is complaining about Robert Turner, the lawyer for the victim, and the victim's parents for releasing this information, and might be seeking a gag order on Turner. But what I found more interesting was that Turner is thinking about getting the federal government involved, particularly the Justice Department and their civil rights division.

Gary Welsh also has an excellent post written up at Advance Indiana.

Police Officer Jim Daves is a Pansy

Jonathan Turley runs an excellent legal blog where he extensively documents a variety of police abuse. He has often written about cops pressing ridiculous, often vague charges. Recently, he documented an officer who is pressing a felony charge of assaulting an officer, among other charges (emphasis added):

Daves charged the husband with traffic violations, disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment, evading arrest and assault on an officer. The assault charge was based on the fact that Daves said Wright scraped his arm with a fingernail. We have previously seen assault charges brought against citizens in abusive arrest cases, including for flatulence. We have also seen cases where distraught family members are charged for trying to help their loved one.
Believe it or not, touching a police officer does not constitute an assault. While these charges might eventually be dropped or dealt with otherwise, the gentleman in the story who is charged with these alleged crimes has already been fired from his job due to the charges.

But regardless of what happens in this case, there is one conclusion that is clear: Officer Jim Daves is a pansy.

The full story can be read here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Taking on theTalking Points 01: Repeal the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

In the GOP Senate debates I attended earlier in the year, there were two amendments to the U.S. Constitution that were often mentioned: A repeal of the 17th amendment and a proposed so-called "Balance Budget Amendment." Today, I'll be discussing the former.

The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, as follows:

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

The biggest impact is the election of representatives to the United States Senate. Originally, they were appointed by the individual state legislatures. Now, they are elected by an electoral vote of the entire state which they represent. It also says that replacing vacant seats must also be done by elections, though governors are usually allowed to appoint temporary replacements, and they'll serve until the special election is held or the term runs out. Four states (Oklahoma, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Oregon) ban appointments by governors altogether.

I've heard repeal advocated on many conservative talk radio shows, often hearing about "states' rights" and "liberty." However, I disagree. What is more pro-liberty than direct elections? Maybe it worked in previous times. But now, the halls of state legislatures are filled with lobbyists and self-dealing insiders. And even if they weren't, the legislatures would be appointing them. Politicians would be appointing politicians.

Even though we might not be the smartest of all (after all, it seems that 100,000 of us think this guy might be an a-okay Senator), at least we'll only have ourselves to blame. I fully support the 17th Amendment. And even if I didn't, it's something we can put off to take care of other crises, such as the never ending War on Terror or the massive, unsustainable debt this country is taking on.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Politician Responds to Blogger's E-mail! Quickly! Stop the Presses!

It's usually a non-story when a blogger such as yours truly tries to communicate with a politician or leadership of a political party, and are met with form e-mails or phone calls that aren't returned. For some reason, those who run in political circles clam up when the word "blog" or "blogger" is mentioned. Even the few bloggers in this town (and elsewhere) who try to be fair and verify facts, confirm quotes, etc... aren't able to do so, so they're forced to either re-work the story without it, or drop it altogether.

In the discussion about this past weekend's Indy Pride parade, lawyer and blogger Gary Welsh noted that the GOP seems to have given up on the GLBT vote, while the Democrats have embraced it. A comment on that very post, made by Blogger user Robert, said that Republican Kurt Webber attended Indy Pride. Webber is an Indianapolis-area attorney and previously ran for the City-County Council in 2007, where he was defeated by incumbent Monroe Gray. Webber is now running for state House district 86. District 86 is currently represented by Democrat Ed Delaney.

There are a handful of issues that got my attention this past meeting of the General Assembly, so I e-mailed Webber on that, because I think the GOP is likely to bring some issues up again that have died in the House the last several years. Webber said that rather than responding to my e-mail, he'd like to meet next week.

Please feel free to e-mail me at mamstone@firehawktechnologies.com if you'd like me to consider your question during the interview.

Here is the full text of my e-mail:
I heard that you attended Indy Pride this past weekend. You were likely the only Republican candidate there, and none of the elected officials or party leadership were there. I'd like to commend you on your outreach.

If the Republicans take back the House of Representatives in the General Assembly, the state will likely face another debate on the Marriage Protection Amendment. The most recent session of the General Assembly had it labeled as SJR-13, I believe. It has overwhelmingly passed the GOP dominated Senate. Will you support the proposed amendment to the Constitution with the current language? Are you aware that the amendment isn't necessary. Indiana's own Defense of Marriage Act has been held up by Indiana courts, ruling that there is no right to marriage, and thus it isn't discriminatory to ban same-sex marriage.

I also noticed your history with open records. While Indiana has some great public records laws, it fails to hold government agencies accountable if they deny citizens what should be public records. A public access counselor can asses a non-binding ruling against the government agency, and a bill in the General Assembly to add fines recently died in committee. Will you support legislation to add some teeth to the current laws, so agencies are held accountable if they withhold public information?

Thank you very much for your time.

In the interest of full disclosure, I may publish your response (either in full, quoted excerpts, or a summary) on my blog. Please make it clear if you would rather keep your response confidential.

Relevant links: Kurt Webber, P.C.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

MORE on Brian Williams Drops Out of Mayor's Race, Supports Melina Kennedy

Here is an e-mail Williams sent out to his supporters on Facebook:

Last year, I entered the Indianapolis Mayor’s race with a vision of building an Indianapolis that works for all of us. An Indianapolis that works for kids with a safe, academically rigorous education, an Indianapolis that works for families and seniors with dynamic neighborhoods, clean air and clean water, an Indianapolis that works for businesses with a functioning mass transit system and a culture that nurtures entrepreneurship, and a city that works for the civic organizations that make Indianapolis a great community with sustainable, stable funding mechanisms.

A city that works for all of us is necessary if the citizens of Indianapolis are to thrive in a global economy. With the establishment of property tax caps and the lack of a vibrant public discourse on community priorities, the citizens of Indianapolis lately have been offered ill-conceived proposals such as the sale of the water and sewer systems to address in temporary and insignificant ways the long-term challenges we face.

In analyzing the proposed sale of the water and sewer systems, our campaign forced a higher level of scrutiny from the press and public. Our proposal to significantly alter the manner by which we manage public education in Indianapolis is consistent with proven national efforts. By recruiting precinct committee person candidates, our campaign raised the level of involvement in the democratic process which is always a good thing.

Today, because of business demands and family concerns, I have made the difficult decision to suspend my mayoral campaign. However, I am proud of the efforts our team has made and believe we have raised issues and standards that are relevant to the success of our city's future.

I am pleased to announce that I am also endorsing Melina Kennedy for Mayor. Melina offers the leadership needed for Indianapolis to succeed in these challenging economic times, and we share a perspective on building a city that offers a brighter future for all its residents. I look forward to helping Melina recapture the Mayor’s office in 2011 and working with her to build a city that works for all of us. And I will ask my supporters to help her as well so that we can be unified in our efforts.

To those who shared our vision and invested in our campaign, thank you. We have been frugal stewards of the funds entrusted to us and are returning nearly 80 cents of every dollar invested. For those whom my campaign was their first foray into politics, I encourage you to stay involved. Our party and democracy function best with active, diverse representation. My wife, Susan, and I, along with my siblings and their families all call Indianapolis home, and I will never stop working to make my hometown a city that works for all of us.


As I've said before, I'm hesitant to support Kennedy. Unlike Williams, I am not a Democrat, so my vote isn't guaranteed just because my preferred candidate is endorsing someone else. A Kennedy administration could very well be a continuation of the Bart Peterson administration, and that isn't something I could support.

Brian Williams to Suspend Mayoral Campaign, Will Endorse Kennedy

Brian Williams, a Democratic candidate for Mayor in 2011 and a harsh critic of Mayor Greg Ballard's water and sewage utility sale, is expected to suspend his campaign and endorse Melina Kennedy. Kennedy was a deputy mayor under Bart Peterson, and currently is employed at the law firm Baker and Daniels in an "of counsel" capacity.

Still in the race, or at least considering to join the race, are current City-County Council representative José Evans and former At-Large Council representative Ron Gibson.

Personally, this is a great disappointment. I thought that Williams was the only candidate who demonstrated both a degree of independence and stood a chance of being elected in the Democratic primary.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What's going on with the Libertian Part of Indiana and Indiana's 7th District?

As I noted earlier, the Libertarian Party of Indiana's web site lists their candidate's spot as "vacant" for Indiana's 7th Congressional District. I had clear memories of reading a Facebook post by Christopher Spangle, Executive Director of the LPIN, listing all of the US Congressional candidates that were nominated at their convention a number of months ago. I shot off an e-mail to him noting what I saw on the website. He quickly responded, saying that their candidate, David Ezell, withdrew his name after receiving the nomination. He said the LPIN have until June 30th to fill the vacancy by appointment, and intend on doing so.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Has Marvin Scott Already Conceded the Race Against Andre Carson?

I was very disappointed when slated GOP 7th Congressional candidate Carlos May lost to four-time loser Marvin Scott. However, since I don't know much about the man, I've been trying to get to an event of his. Well, Marvin Scott must have better things to do, because he sure isn't on the campaign trail.

According to his website, events are "Coming Soon!". His website mentions he is also on Flickr and Youtube, but it just links back to GoMarvin.com. The section he has on the issues is surprisingly thin for someone who has run multiple campaigns for the same seat, and gives no clear solution on what Scott supports, but rather, what he's against.

His Twitter page hasn't been updated since late March and has a pathetic fourteen followers. Included in the followers are Executive Director of the Marion County Democratic Party Adam Kirsch, a Carlos May supporter, and yours truly. Missing from the followers list is a single member of the mainstream media, as well as Chairman of the Marion County Republican Party Tom John.

The person who maintains his Facebook campaign page seems to be the most frequent commenter as well as contributor, and a good chunk of the Wall posts seem to be duplicates.

Some might say I'm being harsh on Scott's campaign, that it hasn't really even begun yet. And Carson's own page doesn't have any events listed either. But Carson is the incumbent in a majority-Democrat county. Marvin Scott has run and lost this race before. He needs to hit the ground running, and he needed to do that a month or two ago.

UPDATE: I sent an e-mail to the Marvin Scott campaign inquiring about future events. I'll report back their response if I receive one.

UPDATE II: Wilson Allen found this Craigslist post asking for volunteers for the Scott campaign.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mayor Greg Ballard to Appear in Pike Township Tonight!

Mayor Greg Ballard will appear tonight at the Pike Township Government Building at 7pm. The address is 5665 Lafayette Road, Indianapolis. The meeting is being hosted by Pike Township Residents' Association.

Hat tip to Eye on Indianapolis. I wouldn't have learned of this event without his/her posting.

Carmel Mayor James Brainard: Critics of Assault Case Envy with Jealousy

While listening to Abdul Hakim-Shabazz's morning radio show on WXNT, I heard a soundbite from this story on WTHR:

Carmel Mayor James Brainard said jealously is fueling intrigue into charges against four former high school basketball players accused in assaults on younger teammates.


"I think it gets sometimes more attention because it's Carmel," Brainard told 6News' Joanna Massee. "I think that the community is an affluent community, so sometimes I think … when something doesn't go perfectly, or doesn't go right, that it gets more attention than that same sort of thing might get somewhere else."


"I didn't sit on that jury. I didn't read the police reports and I haven't heard the witnesses' statements, and I haven't heard the defense attorney cross-examine those witnesses," he said. "None of us are in a position to make an informed judgment. We need to let that process work."

You can read the full story here. I imagine the video will be up momentarily, though it wasn't working for me at the time of this posting.

Brainard apparently hasn't done any reading on this investigation that has been going on for several months. But he has done enough research into the people doing the reporting and giving opinions to deduct that it all stems from jealousy.

I haven't been following Brainard too closely since I've been keeping up with politics in 2009. Does he always make these ignorant statements?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Is Indianapolis a Bicycle Friendly City? A Different Angle

While browsing through the blog at The Indy Cog, I came across this entry dated March 29, 2010:

Dear Mayor Ballard,

I was extremely excited and grateful to be invited, along with the rest of the INDYCOG staff and other regional cycling organization officials, to a meeting with representatives from your office last Friday at the City-County Building to discuss a future proposition for cycling in Indianapolis. This effort, along with the Indy BikeWays efforts by yourself and Andy Lutz at the DPW, have shown great promise and support for cycling in the city.

I wanted to discuss something else that might be beneficial to the recognition of cycling as a viable form of transportation in Indianapolis. Along with my materials for the meeting, I brought with me standard bike tools (bike pump, multi-tool, wrench) carried by most commuters in the case they might need to make a minor repair on their ride. While packing for the meeting, I even thought to leave my pocket knife at home, as I knew for a fact this would not be allowed inside the City-County Building.

At the security gate, I passed my messenger bag and jacket through the X-ray as instructed, and was immediately put on alarm. The security personnel had me explain to them each item in my bag, passed my bag through again, then told me that to be admitted to the building I would have to leave my bag out with my bike because my bike pump, multi-tool, wrench, and even my red tail light was not allowed inside the building. I was told that if I didn’t leave them outside with my bike, they would be confiscated and not returned to me. Because these items are valuable, I wasn’t about to leave them outside on my bike, as there would be no way to secure them; I had to ride to a friend’s house and stash these items there, making me almost 30 minutes late to the meeting. Another member of INDYCOG had a similar incident, and took the chance to leave his gear outside in an inconspicuous place (luckily, it was where he left it upon return).

You can read the full entry here.

While this isn't the most pressing issue our city faces, it does bring up how bicycle friendly our city really is if our city government won't even accommodate bikers so they can do business at the City-County Building. The re-modeling of the City Market might give some solutions to bike storage, but I don't think people should have to shell out bucks just to go in and attend a council meeting or pay a parking citation. They should be able to chain it to a fence or tree, bring their non-weaponry in, do their business, and leave.

Is Indianapolis a Bicycle Friendly City?

Recently, fellow blogger Paul Ogden has taken some heat in his multiple posts (here, here, and here) on bike lanes and the dangers of them from what seems like posters from The Indy Cog. The Indy Cog is a popular web site for cyclist enthusiasts of the Indianapolis area, a website I first found by visiting the link via Bart Lies!

You can decide if bike lanes are beneficial or not for yourself. Personally, the "dooring" brings me some concern, but I'll give the benefit of the doubt for now that it won't be a concern.

My thoughts on the matter is that while these bike lanes are a good start, there is still plenty of work to be done. I understand that not every road can be expanded, but many of the roads with bike lanes really feel like they were put in without much thought. In places like downtown and the cultural districts (Broad Ripple, Mass Ave, Fountain Square, etc...), motorists are already accommodating of cyclists. Especially in downtown, where speeds rarely go over 30mph due to frequent stop lights and signs, pedestrians, and the wonders of traffic.

But bike lanes outside of these areas, or even biking on the roads, is a different story.

Many roads outside of the cultural areas and downtown are just not accustomed to having bikes share the roads. Fortunately, I think there is a solution.

In Marion County-Indianapolis, it is not illegal for bicycles to be on sidewalks. As I've mentioned earlier, cultural areas and downtown have relatively few problems with motorists sharing the road with bicycles. These are also the places where the sidewalks are utilized by pedestrians.

But on roads that aren't bike friendly, they might have some sidewalks, which aren't often used. I like to point to the sidewalk that circles around the Georgetown and 56th St. area. It is not heavily used by pedestrians, and is relatively new. It's smooth, and isn't littered with potholes like the street sometimes is (which is a whole OTHER problem about riding on the streets, but I digress). In lieu of cultural trails going up around the city, extending sidewalks on Michigan/MLK Roadd, 38th Street, Fall Creek Boulevard, and other areas will make it easy for cyclists and motorists to co-exist. And for people like myself who want to commute with our bicycles but are still nervous about riding on the roads, it gives us a good way to get used to the environment.

See, I think a bicycle friendly city shouldn't just be friendly for the cyclists already doing it, but for people who want to do it but haven't done it yet. Extending sidewalks on these busy streets would go a long way to accomplishing that.

Monday, June 7, 2010

City-County Council Expands Government on the Backs of Business in the Great Recession

Tonight, the City-County Council voted on various business fees for types of inspection and licensing performed by the city government. Some of the fees haven't been raised in several years, it's true. But why is it that every time local government wants to increase fees, they have to jack up the rates by a few hundred percent? As frequent blog commenter Downtown Indy has asked, could they, for once, set a plan to increase the fees incrementally over X number of years so smaller businesses aren't hit so hard?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

City-County Counil Meeting Monday, June 7

Pat Andrews of Had Enough Indy? has an excellent summary of what will be happening at this Monday's meeting of the City-County Council. There will be another meeting June 28th, and several committee meetings between the two meetings.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Blog Y'All Should Be Reading

I don't often write about reading recommendations as far as blogs go. Most of them are linked to on the right side of this blog. But something that hasn't been added at yet is Indy's Political Stock Exchange.

According to their Blogger profile, they are stock traders who have decided to see if the politics and pundit industry of Indianapolis can be measured similar to stocks. They assign groups and people a four letter ticker symbol. Thomas John, Chairman of the Marion County Republican Party, is now TOJO. Mayor Greg Ballard is GBAL, and so on. Each time they write a blog entry, they'll end it with an UP or DOWN indicating how the stock did on that story. And for those who want to keep track, they've been very good at using Labels for their post. That means you can easily pull up all the entries on one of the stocks and figure out the price.

While the trading aspect of the site never seemed to take off (I was the only participant), it is a very entertaining blog with an alive comments section. I've noticed that comments, especially from anonymous users, are down in most of the blogs I read compared to what they were in 2007 and 2008. Indy's Political Stock Exchange, however, has avoided that, and seems to be very popular.

I highly recommend reading this blog, especially if you are new to the blogosphere of Indianapolis. It serves as a great introduction.

EDIT: Maybe my readers can start a campaign to get IndyStudent on the ticker? I'd prefer ISAT. Or if IPSE just wants to use my real name, Matthew Stone can be cut down to MSTO.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Some Pondering

I've been reading over old entries from Gary Welsh's Advance Indiana blog, and it's strange how history seems to repeat itself. There are a lot of posts about how it's time for Congressman Dan Burton (R-5th district) to retire, crime is up, and criticism of elected officials attending the Superbowl via special deals they get through the Colts. Oh, also, a lot of entries about how The Indianapolis Star has dropped the ball on reporting and investigate journalism. In the era I'm reading right now, early 2007, particularly on the SJR-7 (state marriage amendment).

If only we'd learn.