Saturday, May 31, 2014

Civil Discourse Now at Democratic Convention, and a Format Change

Civil Discourse Now will be broadcasting live today, 11am-1pm, at the Indiana Democratic Party's convention at the Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. If you are a delegate, feel free to stop by and chat. We'll be with set up with the rest of the vendors.

For the last several weeks, we have experienced technical difficulties on Civil Discourse Now that have nothing to do with the hardware or software we use to broadcast the show. Last week, while I took a break to research some news, I checked into the station to discover that not only were we not on the air, but something else was being played in our time slot.

We hope to resolve that situation today, with the launch of 7 Bits Of Info on Live365. To listen, just go to the link and click play. An embedded Live365 player will be on the blog shortly. We won't only be broadcasting live, but we'll also use this station to air "classic" episodes of Civil Discourse Now. And some of our pre-taped segments will air on their own, instead of embedded within the program. I am also working on digging up some interviews I have on cassette tapes and broadcasting them on the station.

If you have a smartphone or tablet, download the Live365 app and point it to 7 Bits Of Info.

I know the transition may be rough for some listeners and fans. After all, it wasn't that long ago that this show was broadcasting live from UStream and had a video feed. But we truly believe that this is our best option so that our program will sound as technically good as possible.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Endorsements and The Treasurers

According to social media and confirmed by several sources, GOP candidate for Treasurer Don Bates sent out an e-mail last night claiming he was endorsed by the Indiana State Police Alliance. The e-mail was also posted on several social media outlets run by the Bates' campaign.

The Bates' website for Treasurer has since deleted the e-mail and most social media outlets announcing the endorsement have been deleted as well.

A source that is connected with the Bates' campaign said that Bates did meet with the Indiana State Police Alliance for an endorsement and that Bates wasn't expecting an endorsement this early in the cycle. The source said that Bates was approached by an individual from the ISPA pledging support and believes that the e-mail and social media posts were an honest mistake.

When contacted, a source within the Wayne Seybold camp didn't confirm or deny that Seybold had sought the endorsement of the ISPA and pointed out that their political action committee has less than $150 in the bank. Rumors are also swirling that an FBI investigation into Marion, Indiana's finances could become public before the November election. Seybold is the current Mayor of Marion. A source within the Seybold camp dismissed these rumors, noting that Standard and Poor's just gave an A+ credit rating to the city.

Seybold, Bates, and candidate Kelly Mitchell are all vying for the GOP nomination for State Treasurer. The Republican nominee will be elected by Republican delegates during their June convention in Fort Wayne.

UPDATE: A separate source within the Bates campaign says ISPA did endorse but they were later advises by legal counsel that they can't endorse before the convention.

UPDATE II: ISPA has released a statement echoing similar sentiments as to what my source said earlier. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What I'll Be Watching: Election Day Edition

It is kind of an extra dull primary day today in Indiana. There are no state-wide offices on the primary ballot. This year, all of those offices will be decided in conventions of the respective parties. But there are county wide elections being held, a handful of referendums, and the town of Fishers, now being a city, will be holding its first municipal primary today for their city government.

Within Marion County county wide offices and the 7th Congressional District, I'm not expecting anything too out of the ordinary. I've spotted some t-shirts, yard signs, and even one of those billboards-on-a-truck for Mark Brown, the IMPD officer challenging Sheriff John Layton in the Democratic primary. But I've also seen Layton roll out his A-game as well. It isn't so much that I think Brown will win, but it could be interesting to see if Brown breaks, say, 40%. He's not running a paper candidacy and obviously has some money to spend. But listening to him on Amos Brown's program, I felt that he just wasn't ready for prime time.

While some may be hopeful that one of the three unslated judicial candidates in the Democratic primary may make it through, the slate has performed strongly in the past. I'll just leave it at that.

The Republicans have a five way race going on in the 7th Congressional District primary. Cat Ping came within a few points of beating Carlos May last time around, so I expect the same may occur again.

Social media reports are saying the race between Bob Behning and Michael Scott in the District 91 Republican primary has gotten heated. I don't live in that part of the county, so maybe I'm not hearing the ads myself. It could be the closest race this neck of the woods will get. Scott previously ran in 2012 as a Lunchpail Republican and lost. The Democrat in District 91, Patrick Lockheart, is uncontested in the primary.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Bayh's Lips Say No, His FEC Disclosures Say "Yes"

Last month, WTHR "broke" the news that Not-A-Lobbyist lobbyist Evan Bayh is not planning on running for President. And while they didn't ask, he gave no indication on thinking of running for Senate or Governor in the state of New York Virginia Indiana.

But his financial reports, from the Federal Election Commission, tell a different story. They don't indicate he's running, of course. But he sure is using the millions and millions of dollars he has stashed away in there.

Since the beginning of this year, he has paid $6,000 for political consulting to 1816 Consulting Group. He has paid $2,000 every month, usually near the beginning of each month, since at least July of 2013, to 1816 Consulting.

1816 Consulting does not have a web site set up yet. But social media site Linked In links it to Dan Parker. Parker, a former Indiana Democratic Party chairman who is contemplating a run for Mayor of Indianapolis, has close ties to Evan Bayh.

In most of the reports I viewed, it seems like the campaign committee spends far more on political consulting and simply managing the committee's account (IE expenses for "campaign software") than actually giving funds to legitimate campaigns who are running for an actual elected office. In other reports there are also disbursements for photographers and a Christmas Card mailing list...even though Bayh isn't running for any office.

Maybe that Public Integrity work group that was called together by the US Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana will look into this? 

Yeah, right, what am I thinking.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Mini Marathon Edition of Civil Discourse Now

Civil Discourse Now will be broadcasting live from 11am-1pm Saturday, May 3, at the Antelope Club. The club is in downtown Indianapolis on Delaware Street at 615 North Delaware Street. Theoretically, it is a Mini Marathon edition of the show.

The regular host of the show, Mark Small, will be "doing" the Mini during the show. We are uncertain on when, or even if, he'll arrive. So I'll be at the helm hosting the show.

The Mini is put on by the 500 Festival and is one of several events organized by the group. You can read a history of each of the official races at their website.

In addition to our pre-taped segments on fashion, sports, and Tale Of A City, I'll be airing two interviews that I recorded as well. One is with Rick Snyder, the first Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 86. The FOP lodge is the fraternal and labor organization of choice for much of law enforcement within Marion County.

I initially talked to Rick because we were planning on doing a crime and public safety show. He committed to a pre-taped interview because he couldn't make it to the show. Unfortunately, the plans fell through for the rest of the show but I think the FOP's side should be heard.

I also talked to Marion Superior Court judicial candidate Greg Bowes. Greg is one of three unslated judicial candidates running in the Democratic primary. During the interview, we talk about Greg's background as a public servant and a lawyer, his thoughts on slating, and what he brings to the table should he be elected as a judge. The eight Democratic candidates who come out of the primary will go on with eight Republican candidates for 16 slots in the November election.

Mark will also be Skyping in during the Mini, or so he says.

Feel free to join us. The Club is open to guests but a Member In Good Standing must pay for any food or beverages ordered. That may be a challenge, but it is one I am up for.

City to Public: Pay Up For More Police

When it comes to throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at professional sports teams and enacting special legislation so that they pay as few taxes as possible, money just seems to fall from the fucking sky and it is no big deal.

But when citizens are sick and tired of running over tire-destroying potholes and a police force that is reactive rather than proactive, well you are just a selfish asshole for not paying enough in taxes. Get ready to open up, because the Powers-That-Be have determined they're going after every last dime they can get their hands on.

Via The Indianapolis Star:

With homicides rising for a third straight year, a City-County Council task force is recommending $29 million in tax hikes to increase the Indianapolis police force by nearly 300 officers.The IMPD Staffing Study Commission proposal would add 286 officers to the force by 2020 at an annual cost of about $100 in new taxes for most Marion County residents. The new revenue would increase the department's ranks to 1,813 officers, the most it's ever had.
Half the new revenues would be provided by eliminating a homeowner tax break — a move originally proposed by Republican Mayor Greg Ballard that Democrats on the council have rejected three times.
The difference this time, said council chief financial officer Bart Brown, is that the homestead tax credit would be phased out over four years. Brown said a property owner with a $100,000 home ultimately would pay an extra $30 a year.
An additional $15 million a year would be generated by slightly increasing the income taxes dedicated to public safety. A resident making $50,000 a year would pay about $75 more a year.
The plan is intended as a blueprint for budget negotiations this summer, he said.
The proposal would increase the number of officers to 1,797 by 2018, which would be the highest council-authorized level ever. There are 1,527 police on the force now.
One hundred officers a year would be hired from 2015 to 2018, and 50 would be hired in 2019 and 2020, in addition to the 80 recruits being trained now.
At the same time, the department expects to lose 42 officers a year to retirements and resignations through 2020.

Not a single word about how the city is pissing away $160 million on managing Conseco Bankers' Life Fieldhouse, including buying (another?) fancy scoreboard and other upgrades to the facility. Nothing about how the Pacers' organization swear they couldn't possibly afford these upgrades on their own even though they keep all revenue generated from events held at the stadium. Nothing about the millions of dollars we're losing out on in a revenue "sharing" agreement with the private operator of our publicly owned parking meters.

Every one of these fee and tax increases hurts. In a stagnant economy where it isn't uncommon for people to not even get cost of living increases, another $75 a year is a tank of gas. It is a week of groceries (if you're really a bargain hunter).

I've said before I'm not opposed to a tax increase. But it makes it a lot harder to support when contractors and professional sports teams get showered with public money and then the Powers That Be turn around and tell us there is no money to fix our streets or to hire police officers.