Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Guess Fox 59 Works for Mitch Roob Now

When the "paper of record" has become a shell of it's former self, the public has to turn to other forms of media to find out what's going on with our tax dollars. And one of the media outlets that have been doing quality reporting for the entire year is Fox 59. With Russ McQuaid, Fox 59 was the outlet that broke the various scandals that involved Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. McQuaid has also been on top of Doctor Director Frank Straub and his war of words against the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

So it's sad to read that Fox 59 has published this news story touting the job numbers being claimed by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. IEDC has been under investigation all year by WTHR's Bob Segall in his award winning report "Reality Check: Where Are the Jobs?". Segall has learned that getting any real answers from Governor Mitch Daniels and Roob is like pulling teeth. At one point in the story, Daniels walks out of the room as Segall questions him. And when Roob finally does give Segall documents, they're contained in dozens of binders that seem to have little rhyme or reason, and often have a lot of redacted information. Roob claims that exact job numbers and salary information is confidential, and that it gives employers an edge on their competition. But each of our neighboring states, including Illinois, makes salary information and job numbers and titles public information, some even putting it on their state web site.

Shame on Fox 59. I honestly expected better.

Mitch Daniels to Speak at CPAC? Will His Truce Still Stand?

The state GOP community in the Twitterverse has been atwitter lately because the rumors are that Governor Mitch Daniels will be speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (source). CPAC is held by the American Conservative Union and is billed as the largest gathering of conservatives and conservative activists held annually.

Governor Daniels was quoted in The Weekly Standard that the next President would have to call a "truce" on social issues. This set off some on the far-right into a frenzy, and Daniels might've done a little back-pedalling as well, but generally stayed by his comments. Link

How does Daniels' "truce" relate to CPAC?

In 2010, one of the groups in attendance at CPAC was GOProud. GOProud is a group for LGBT Republicans that is largely seen as a poor man's Log Cabin Republicans, focusing mainly on economical issues and other issues of general interest rather than specific LGBT legislation.

And even though GOProud promises not to push too hard on social issues, their presence at CPAC has caused an outrage among social conservatives. A speaker at CPAC 2010 was booed off stage when he condemned CPAC for allowing GOProud to attend. And due to GOProud being listed as a co-sponsor of the event, several organizations have said they will no longer be attending CPAC.

Among those organizations are the Family Research Council, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Concerned Women for America have all announced their intentions not to attend CPAC 2011. Coincidentally, all three of these organizations were named as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

So will our man Mitch keep to his word on his truce? Will the non-attendance of these organizations make CPAC seem lacking? Or will people just barely notice and move on?

UPDATE: Alex Blaze of The Bilerico Project weighs in as well. Blaze says Liberty University, the university founded by Jerry Falwell, won't be attending CPAC either. He also lists a few other orgs that have chosen not to attend.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Precinct Committeemen to Come Out of the Shadows?

I don't agree with the good folks at Hoosier Access a whole lot. They tend to be more socially conservative than I care for, and sometimes they're little more than a mouthpiece for Representative Dan Burton (R-5th CD) and the old guard of the state and local GOP. But as the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day, and I find myself agreeing with Josh Gillespie in his latest post.

Gillespie discusses Senator-elect Jim Banks (R-17th) proposed legislation that would require county parties to file lists of precinct committeemen and ward chairs with the local county election board. Banks says that his proposed legislation will require these lists to be open to the public.

Banks says that it can be quite difficult for independent voters to find out who their elected or appointed precinct committeeman is. He cites cases he's heard from voters who align themselves with the Tea Party movement. But I'd say that it'd also benefit more than just independent voters, but potential candidates and the actual precinct committeemen as well.

Bil Browning, an LGBT activist who started the blog The Bilerico Project, was a precinct committeeman when he resided in Indianapolis, and took part in the Marion County Democrat's party caucus to elect a representative after Julia Carson passed away in 2007. Browning reports in this post that the lists of precinct committeemen were different for several of the candidates who wanted to serve out the remaining time in Carson's term. Browning also was not able to cast a vote despite being an appointed precinct committeeman at the time, and he says several others were not able to participate as well. Ultimately, Julia's grandson, André Carson, won the caucus vote to fill out Julia's term, and went on to win the special election against then State representative Jon Elrod (R-Indianapolis), the crowded Democrat primary in May for the general election 2008, and the general November election against Elrod.

And that's just the one case we know about. There's no doubt in my mind that the shenanigans Browning reported are common during slating conventions in Marion County among the two major parties.

And a word of advice to the political parties in this state: Don't oppose it. In fact, start complying with this legislation before it passes, or do so even if it doesn't. Post lists on your county party's so that citizens interested in becoming active in a political party can contact someone to get started.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Doctor Director Straub Should Thank Vernon Brown

I had a source of mine tell me several weeks back that Vernon Brown (D-18th) would be voting to re-confirm Frank Straub as Director of the Department of Public Safety. However, Brown voted against Straub during the Public Safety and Criminal Justice committee meeting. I noted, at the time, that Brown didn't ask a single tough question. Brown did a 180 last night when he voted for Straub in a 16-13 vote.

Brown is a battalion chief for the Indianapolis Fire Department, which falls under the umbrella of the Department of Public Safety. The Chief of the Fire Department, Brian Sanford, showed up at the aforementioned committee meeting and publicly voiced his support for Straub.

To me, that comes across as Brown was voting on behalf of his employer. It wasn't the deciding vote, since two other Democrats joined him. But he should've abstained, especially since the Chief of IFD took a public stance during Straub's confirmation hearing.

Ethical lapses have been vast on the Republican side, and have been the focus of critics of the City-County Council since they have the majority, but the Democrats haven't necessarily become any more ethical since 2007.

Doris Minton-McNeill (15th) was MIA for several weeks in 2009 with no explanation as to her whereabouts after a neighbor alleged that Minton-McNeill was driving erratically and almost hit her daughter. It was later announced at a council meeting that she was receiving medical treatment. During the time that she missed on the council, she sent in a note and informed everyone that she would've abstained from voting on the proposed extended smoking ban. That makes me wonder why she chose to abstain from voting (had she been there).

Jackie Nytes (9th) hasn't been able to keep her name out of the local politicosphere for quite a while, having voted several times against the majority of her own caucus, including this vote to confirm Straub's nomination. Gary Welsh recently discussed, on both his blog and in The Indianapolis Star's "Behind Closed Doors" column, how she might be violating the Little Hatch Act. The act, a federal law, prohibits employers who receive a large amount of federal funds from running for and holding partisan political office. Nytes has decided not to run for re-election, where she was expected to get challenged in the slating process.

I could go on, but I can't spend the rest of my day writing about ethical lapses of the Democrats sitting on the City-County Council.

But what can really be done about it? "Throw the bums out" only seems to give us new bums. I think municipal government here needs a complete overhaul, and I hope to detail what some of my ideas would be by year's end.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Posting

I recently started a new job. I'm sure those of you who follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook know that I work Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and New Years Day. And on top of a heavier work schedule, I have social and family obligations to attend to as well.

Expect blog postings to basically crawl to a halt after December 21st, which is the day after the City-County Council has their final full meeting for the calendar year.

Stay safe and have fun during this holiday season.

"Special Rights" and The End of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

While I haven't exactly been keeping up with the news cycle in the aftermath of the United States Senate overwhelmingly voting to repeal the policy known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I can imagine that many on the fringe right are harping on about "special rights" being granted to gays and lesbians who are serving in our nation's military.

Over at Gay Patriot, there is an excellent post that addresses this issue. Read the whole thing. But there's one section that struck me. They quoted this section from the military's report on ending DADT:

We do not recommend that sexual orientation be placed alongside race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, as a class eligible for various diversity programs, tracking initiatives, and complaint resolution processes under the Military Equal Opportunity Program. We believe that doing so could produce a sense, rightly or wrongly, that gay men and lesbians are being elevated to a special status as a “protected class” and will receive special treatment. In a new environment in which gay and lesbian Service members can be open about their sexual orientation, we believe they will be accepted more readily if the military community understands that they are simply being permitted equal footing with everyone else.
This is what many who fall on the right end of the political spectrum, but still support LGBT equality, have to constantly explain. We believe everyone is entitled to equal rights and equal treatment under the law.

Both Advance Indiana and Indy Democrat discuss DADT's repeal as well.

Friday, December 17, 2010

IMPD vs Doctor Director Straub Continues

Two YouTube accounts (here and here) have been created in the past few days, uploading one video each. The videos are highly critical of Paul Ciesielski, Chief of Police of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and Frank Straub, Director of the Department of Public Safety.

YouTube played a role in the last municipal election allowing people to upload videos quickly to respond to relevant issues bought up during the campaign, and for politicians and political parties to post campaign ads without having to pay for television or radio air time. It's also worth noting that candidates often don't take down these campaign YouTube accounts even after they lose or set up a new one account. Ballard's old campaign commercials, for example, can still be found here. Sir Hailstone, a long time blog commenter, still has his account open here. And the anonymous themchammer still has his up here. Most official YouTube channels of campaigns and parties can be found easily through their official web sites.

Below are the videos concerning IMPD:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tell Senator Lugar to Support the Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

The infamous "compromise" policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been a burden on our armed services for a good portion of a decade. The original policy completely prohibited gays and lesbians from serving in the military. Now, the military can't ask and the individual enlisted shouldn't tell. Somehow, I suppose not too many have been discharged for asking, but I digress.

Don't Ask Don't Tell's repeal was something President Barack Obama ran on during the 2008 election. Originally, DADT's repeal was attached to a military budget bill as an amendment, but it failed to pass. A few hours ago, the House of Representatives voted and approved DADT repeal as it's own bill. 15 Republicans joined 200+ Democrats in voting for repeal.

The repeal now has to pass the US Senate. And by my count, there are 58 Democrats who will vote for cloture (one Democrat Senator is dead set against voting for DADT repeal). One of the Maine Republican Senators is voting for it as well. That means DADT repeal needs one more to vote for cloture so it can get a floor vote.

In my analysis, it seems that time is really against DADT repeal. I wish the proponents of this legislation the best of luck.

If you want to get updates throughout the day, I encourage you to check out The Bilerico Project. They'll certainly be keeping track of this much more than I'll be able to.

Contact Senator Richard Lugar. Here is every possible way to contact him. Make sure to tell his office that repeal is important, and shouldn't be tied to the passage or failing of any other proposed legislation.

Facebook Fan Page
Facebook personal profile
E-mail contact form
Office locations, including phone numbers.

Finally, I apologize for this shoddy posting. But I wanted to get the information out there.

Library Supporters Start to Organize

The group Sustainable Library Citizens Coalition sent a mailer out on Facebook and set up a Facebook event urging their membership to attend the City-County Council meeting on December 20th, 2010. According to the mailer, the full council will be voting on a special resolution urging the General Assembly to grant more control over how the County Optional Income Tax can be used.

The mailer makes it's case for the special resolution by pointing out that Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library currently receives no money from COIT revenue, while 28 other counties do use COIT revenue to fund library systems.

I called the number listed in the mailer and spoke to one of the organization's representatives. She told me that Jackie Nytes (D-9th) will be introducing the special resolution. Unlike Ed Coleman's (LP-At Large) resolution on the Transportation Securities Administration, this special resolution will be introduced AND voted upon at the full council meeting rather than being set to committee.

I have mixed feelings on this. I think the Coalition's heart is in the right place, but I fear they're going about it in the wrong way. Currently, the COIT funds are already dedicated, with the most recent increase in 2007 being aimed at funding public safety.

This means two things:

  • They could cut funds out of the current COIT revenue
  • Or they could increase the COIT.

Neither of those options are very appealing. The first could easily be spun as a cut in public safety, or whatever other services the current COIT revenue funds. And an increase in COIT during the 2011 municipal election cycle could lead to a repeat of what happened in 2007 to whoever supports it.

My hunch is there are other funds that could be re-directed, such as the property taxes that are currently being funnelled to the Capital Improvement Board. Maybe the Coalition could talk to my friend Pat Andrews. If anyone knows where the city is blowing money away, she does.

Full disclosure: My first job was as a page (book shelver) at IMCPL Outreach Services.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

GOP Chairman Election Thoughts

As I type this, precinct committee reps of the Marion County Republican Party are meeting to elect their newest chairman. The choice is between Kyle Walker and Gary Conner. Conner is a sitting City-County Council member in the town of Lawrence. Walker is a former Executive Director and worked on the Mark Massa for Prosecutor campaign earlier in the year.

As I'm short on time juggling two jobs and social and family obligations during the holiday season, I'm going to be lazy and link to what I think is a unique take on what the next GOP chairman needs to bring to the table.

Derek Trovilion hosts his blog over at Hoosier Access. I met him during the GOP primary for Senate earlier in the year when he was working for Marlin Stutzman. He is focusing now on municipal elections, and he lays out a good direction for the GOP in this excellent post.

His points can be boiled down to this: A political party's inner organization should be representative of what kind of government they would run should they be the ones who are voted into power.

Take the time to read his post. It's well worth thinking about, and some could even apply to the county Dems as well.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Could Ronald Reagan Make It In Today's Republican Party?

I had lunch with a political associate of mine downtown this afternoon shortly after attending Mayor Greg Ballard's re-election announcement. We covered a lot of topics, but when we started talking about our families and our political histories, the topic of the late Ronald Reagan came up.

Earlier in the conversation, my associate expressed his support for former of Massachusetts Mitt Romney in the 2008 primary. He felt he was the right pick for that year, and that he was moderate enough in his political beliefs that he'd be able to attract voters that wouldn't normally vote for a Republican for President. As we all know now, Romney didn't make it out of the primary. John McCain won the nomination, and went on to lose to President Barack Obama.

I noted Romney will always have difficulty of getting out of a primary on the national state. Even with his backtracking on issues such as abortion, his record as Governor of Massachusetts still existed. He was too far left for the Republican voters who participate in the primaries and caucuses (or more aptly, the primaries and caucuses that matter). So I asked him if President Reagan could win a primary in today's Republican party?

My associate, without hesitation, said one word: "No."

And I wasn't surprised at that answer.

In fact, I'd even entertain another thought: That Reagan, despite all the love letters he gets from GOP pundits nowadays, would have no place at today's national Republican party.

Ronald Reagan was a proud, card carrying member and leader of his labor union, the Screen Actors Guild. Today, unions are openly demonized by conservatives (with an exception for police and fire fighter unions, of course).

Reagan, in his first term as Governor of California, signed the Therapeutic Abortion Act. This legislation was aimed to curb so-called "back room abortions". Because of the success of the law, more abortions were performed, but in a sanitary environment.

Reagan ran against a sitting President in a Republican primary in 1976, and almost won. Maybe you can get away with that on the state and local level, but it just doesn't happen on the national state.

Any one of these moves, alone, would crush the possibility of that Republican winning the GOP nomination to run for President of the United States. Reagan did all three. And probably more too.

So what do you think? Could Ronald Reagan make it in today's Republican Party? Is there a Democrat from the past who just wouldn't be accepted in today's Democrat party?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Just Cookies and Discrimination: Another View

The business Just Cookies has reached an agreement with the city's Equal Opportunity board to continue operations within the publicly owned Indianapolis City Market. The owners of the business refused an order for an LGBT group based out of the IUPUI campus. When questioned by media why the order was refused, owner David Stockton cited his two young daughters and the family values they strive to teach them. This set off controversy that alleged that Just Cookies discriminated against the LGBT group on the basis of sexual orientation, which would violate the municipal Human Rights Ordinance passed in late 2005.

The LGBT community was "helped" when several members of Indiana Equality published an editorial in The Indianapolis Star saying that the HRO was never meant to prevent private establishments from discriminating. Two of the authors of the article, Jackie Nytes and Scott Keller, are current and former City-County Council representatives, respectively, and were sponsors of the HRO.

As part of the agreement, Just Cookies has to post signs indicating they won't discriminate. Stockton, when questioned by the media, refused to comment and referred the reporter to his lawyer.

If I was Stockton or a higher up at the struggling City Market, I couldn't have asked for a better day filled with big news items to make sure the local story gets buried on news web sites and in the morning's newspaper. The piece of garbage that held Elizabeth Smart hostage for nine months was convicted despite an attempt at an insanity plea. Several stories have been extensively covered that are coming from the so-called "lame duck" session of the United States Congress with pieces of legislation the Democrats wanted to pass before the new Congress takes over in January. Fox 59's home page has the story listed last on their front page area of latest news stories, and it doesn't seem like any of the other news media web sites have a story up*

From what I've learned of the Stocktons since this story broke, I doubt that they've learned anything. It's really sad, because I think many in the LGBT community would've wanted this to be a learning experience and to advance LGBT equality rather than to hang Just Cookies and the City Market out to dry. Instead, the Stockton's lawyered up and are doing the bare minimum to cover their ass. I doubt anyone from the IUPUI group that was originally discriminated against or anyone from the LGBT community was involved or even talked to throughout this process.

Another wasted opportunity to advance Indianapolis' corner of the world, and another example of how many laws in this town aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

*Update: When I originally published this story, Fox59's web page had their story on Just Cookies on their front page. I can no longer find it there only a few hours later.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

City-County Council Committee Reapproves Straub as DPS Director

The City-County Council Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee took up several appointments and reappoints to various boards and departments this evening. Several were all grouped together and voted on as a package. What I found interesting was that Paul Page was being reappointed to the Marion County Public Defender Board. Paul Page, who is a criminal defense attorney, made headlines earlier in the year for a series of deals he struck with Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. Some alleged that those deals were very lenient and were done because of Page's and Brizzi's business relationship. They own a piece of property together in Elkhart, Indiana that is rented out to the state of Indiana. The Democrats usually jump at connecting Brizzi to Republicans, and I'm surprised no one mentioned the controversy surrounding Page.

The other major piece on the agenda was Frank Straub, who was chosen by Mayor Greg Ballard to be reappointed as director for the Department of Public Safety.

Straub testified to the council, only facing tough questions from the Democrats, most of whom weren't members of the committee. He regularly took several minutes to ramble on and on and on to answer relatively direct questions. I also felt Straub's tone with the committee sounded like he was leading a lecture at an academic institution rather than answering questions being asked by a legislative body. This is a problem that some PhD holders have. They spend so much time in academic institutions studying and talking to associates who have similar or higher degrees, and they forget that the rest of the world isn't a classroom.

Public comment was moderated by a time limit of two minutes with a buzzer that goes off after the two minutes. Fortunately, this wasn't enforced, but it was still nonetheless annoying. Surprisingly, despite the Fraternal Order of Police encouraging officers to contact their council representation and testify at committee, few chose the option to testify. A few retired officers and clergy members testified in favor of Straub. The Chief of Police, Paul Ciesielski, and one other officer testified in favor of Straub. Outside of FOP President Bill Owensby, only a few of the other members who took advantage of public comment testified against Straub.

In the crowd were several City-County Councillors and at least one At-Large candidate, Annette Johnson (D). Several members of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department attended the meeting in uniform but stayed silent during public comment. Several from the Indianapolis Fire Department attended as well.

Now that I've got the reporting of the layout out of the way, here's my editorial.

Frank Straub is not a police officer. He is a director of the Department of Public Safety. His duties are basically an administrator. He handles the budgets of the respective departments, makes sure they are exchanging information with each other and ensures communication is open between the departments of the Mayor.

Despite some police scandals happening while Straub's predecessor, Scott Newman, was in charge, you didn't see Newman on television very often. In fact, you probably see Newman on TV more often NOW than you did while he was the director of DPS.

Straub has not only gone beyond his authority, but has used it to tarnish IMPD officers. Officer Jerry Piland, who was accused of brutally beating Brandon Johnson, was cleared by the Police Merit Board. The Merit Board heard over 24 hours of testimony and found that the evidence against Piland was poor and seemed like Piland acted properly. They even thought that another officer's actions were worth investigating, but their scope was narrowed to Piland's actions.

Despite the Merit Board clearing Piland of any wrongdoing, Straub was on camera the following morning convicting Piland in the media. Mayor Ballard and Chief Ciesielski made similar statements. They all said it was police brutality and he should've been fired. Oh, and Ballard and Straub didn't attend the Merit Board's meeting for a single second.

Maybe this is just me, but if your boss, the CFO and the CEO all publicly said they thought you sucked and deserve to be fired, that could create the situation for a hostile work environment. I'd talk to a lawyer about a possible slander lawsuit.

Speaking of defamation, a former IMPD assistant chief is planning to sue over his demotion. He claims the treatment of Straub and others violated his civil rights, caused him to lose income, and humiliated him.

My gut is telling me that the tug-of-war between the rank-and-file/FOP and Straub isn't so much Straub's ideas are bad. But he comes off as very arrogant and seems to charge into situations shooting first and not asking questions. This can be seen perfectly in the situation with Officer Piland. Straub stuck by the original report (which really seemed bad for Piland)despite that evidence, over time, pans out and evolves. After the original report was completed, additional evidence was gathered that simply didn't support the original police report's conclusion. And Straub's failure to adapt to the evidence is just simple arrogance.

I was talking to someone at the meeting and I told them I come from the world of politics. And there's two schools of thought when it comes to the two-party system. You can change from within and support who you like and be part of the big tent, or you can leave the two party system and basically have very little influence on the political landscape.

The situation with Straub is that Straub is on the outside trying to change a body that he isn't a member of. I suspect if Chief Ciesielski was the one pushing these changes, we wouldn't be seeing half of this tug-of-war that we're currently seeing.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pat Andrews Decides on At-Large for City-County Council

Pat Andrews, author of the Had Enough Indy? blog and long-time (now former) vice-president of the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations, has decided to run for City-County Council for one of the four At-Large seats. Before the general election, she'll have to go through slating with the Marion County Democrat Party, which is in February.

She has a website, where you can learn more about her, here.

The Democrats hold one At-Large seat on the current council with Joanne Sanders, who is presumed to run for re-election. Andrews joins Annette Johnson, Zach Adamson, and John Barth, all running for the At-Large nomination. There are four At-Large seats on the City-County Council.

The best of luck to Pat in this endeavour. If anyone has earned a seat at the council, she has.

Doctor Director Straub Caught Sprucing Up Homicide Rate

The inspiration for "Bart" to start the Bart Lies! website was that every year, near the end of the year, it seemed like the homicide rate would get manipulated and would be reported lower by a few homicides lower than the actual homicide rate. Usually, media figures or some politicians would reduce the numbers by taking out any police-action homicides or self-defense figures. In other words, they use the murder rate. Which is fine, as long as they report it as such, and it usually only reduces the number of homicides by 0-5.

I noted last year that Prosecutor Carl Brizzi identified the number as the "homicide" rate and used a number that matches the number found at Bart Lies!.

But Doctor Director Frank Straub, the director of the Department of Public Safety, threw quite a curve ball my way when Bart pointed out that he said there have only been 89 homicides committed in Indianapolis this year. That's right, 89. And yes, he said "homicide", not "violent homicide" or "criminal homicide" or "murder". You can listen to the audio here.

Now, even if you don't accept Bart's count of 106, maybe you'll accept The Indianapolis Star's count of 102.

I'm still scratching my head on how you arrive at that number.

Several months back, The Star published an article where certain public officials were hoping that they'd get another year of less-than-100 criminal homicides. They list the number of non-criminal homicides at 8.

If you take the 102 number, and subtract 8, we're down to 94. Take away the two police action shootings, we're down to 92. Even if you take Eric Wells, who died after an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer ran into his motorcycle with his K-9 police vehicle, off the list, it only brings the number down to 91.

So how did Doctor Director Straub arrive at this number?

I'd sure like to know.

Straub's nomination is up for a vote in the Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee in the City-County Council on Wednesday at 5:30pm.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fred Karger Forms Exploratory Committee for Possible Presidential Run

Fred Karger is the first Republican to form an exploratory committee to explore the option of running for President of the United States. Karger would be the first openly gay presidential nominee if he wins the nomination. Karger has never held elective office, but was an aide to Republican President Ronald Reagan. More recently, he has formed the Californians Against Hate group, focused on working against Proposition 8 which effectively banned same-sex marriage in California.

Karger has little name recognition, but that hasn't stopped him from visiting Iowa and even putting out a campaign commercial.

If you want to hear more from Karger, he'll be appearing on the Alan Colmes' Show tonight. The show airs locally on WXNT 1430-AM between 10:00pm-1:00am EST, or you can listen to the online stream at Fox News Radio.

Doctor Director Frank Straub up for Reappointment, Will He Meet Any Opposition?

A bit more of an add on to my previous post, but thanks to an anonymous commenter on Indiana Barrister, I found a link to this letter authored by Bill Owensby, president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police.

In the letter, Owensby informs the FOP's members that Doctor Director Frank Straub has been renominated for the position of Director of Public Safety. The committee meeting is Wednesday at 5:30pm in room 260 of the City-County Building, and the full council takes it up on December 20th. While Owensby is careful not to come out for or against Straub's nomination in this letter, it's no secret that the FOP has been feuding with Straub throughout the year. Most recently, the FOP released a survey showing very low morale between the rank-and-file and the leadership. It'll be interesting to see how the FOP's members react to this.

It'll be interesting to see how council members react. Mary Morarity-Adams (D-District 17) is married to a deputy in the Marion County Sheriff's Department. Benjamin Hunter (R-District 21) is a former officer of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Jack Sandlin (R-District 24), who was recently appointed to the council to replace Representative-elect Mike Speedy, is a former member of the Indianapolis Police Department and is a private investigator.

Both Moriarity-Adams and Hunter have a history of bucking party leadership. If the council wanted to fit in one more close party line vote, this would be it. Could Moriarity-Adams provide a crucial vote for Doctor Director Frank Straub? And could that impact her chances at slating, which is only two months away?

Fraternal Order of Police Vote to Pay Officer Bisard's Legal Fees

As has been reported in various media outlets today and yesterday, the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police will be paying Officer David Bisard's legal fees. The union president, Bill Owensby, has defended the decision, saying it was a democratic decision put up for a vote and that Bisard is in good standing with the FOP.

Bisard, months ago, was speeding with his lights and siren on to assist in serving a felony warrant for marijuana posession. At an intersection with stopped vehicles present, he swerved to avoid them but ended up hitting a group of motorcycles. One of the motorcyclists, Eric Wells, died on the scene. Two others, Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly, suffered traumatic injuries. Two hours later, Bisard was taken to a medical clinic to be treated for some injuries and his blood was drawn to be tested for intoxication, standard in any vehicular accident that involves injury or death. The blood alcohol content has been repeatedly reported to be 0.19, over twice the legal limit. The police report that was released last month stresses that dozens of law enforcement officials, medical personnel, and other people saw him during the time between the crash and the blood draw and claim he had no indication of being intoxicated. Drunk driving charges were originally filed, but later dropped, supposedly due to the technician who drew the blood wouldn't legally be able to do it in a criminal investigation.

As I reported earlier, I have a source that told me the lab somehow wrote down the wrong number, and the BAC was actually 0.019.

Since this happened, tensions have been tense between the general public and the police department. The Bisard case was only the latest in a long line of officers over the past several years that seem to be constantly in the news. Several protests concerning Bisard and the alleged beating of Brandon Johnson were held in warmer months, and Al Sharpton has made appearances in Indianapolis twice. Any political analyst would advice the rank-and-file of IMPD to stay far away from Bisard at this point.

So why would members of the police union overwhelmingly vote to pay for this guy's legal fees?

Bill Owensby, the president of the Indianapolis FOP, said during an interview with talk show host Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, that Officer Bisard is entitled to due process.

I agree with that. But what he isn't entitled to is having the FOP pick up the tab. Especially since, as Abdul has pointed out, the FOP is under no obligation to do so. They have passed on representing police officers in court in recent years.

So why do they feel the need to represent Bisard?

I have no idea.

But the FOP is tying their reputation now with Bisard. And I fear that if the FOP's reputation goes in the toilet, it'll only make it harder for the rank-and-file to be trusted by the public. And if the public feels they can't be trusted, then the rank-and-file won't be able to do their job of to protect and serve.

Please see this post at Indiana Barrister to listen to the Owensby interview Shabazz conducted this morning. It runs about 12 minutes long.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Welcome Back, Kotter...I mean, Worden

The author of Indy's Painfully Objective Political Analysis, family law attorney Chris Worden, posted that he'd be taking a sabbatical back in June. It seems like the November 2 elections have bought Worden out of the woodworks and he had 12 posts throughout the month of November.

Welcome back, Chris. I hope he sticks around for the 2011 municipal election. He provides excellent analysis and offers incite into the local and state Democratic party that is hard to find in the blogosphere and impossible to find in the mainstream media.