Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Indy Pride: What You Need to Know

The Indianapolis Star has provided a handy list of the major events organized by Circle City IN Pride. Like many of the festivals and parades held in Indianapolis every year, Pride has expanded beyond just a parade and has several days of all types of events planned for people to attend and have fun.

You can see the list of events via the Star's article here or go to Pride's official site for a full list of events.

Praise for the Local News Media

Television junkies like me who are stuck without TIVO and are forced to endure through commercials know that television just got out of a special time of the year: May Sweeps. Sweeps is a slang term within the television industry based around the Nielsen ratings system. Nielson sends out a special type of survey to Nielsen families get a special type of survey to fill out, and networks plan their schedule to attract eyeballs within a time frame. This leads to television shows planning their big, shocking, expensive episodes during this time, and local affiliates will air their biggest news stories during this time as well.

A consequence of sweeps is that ominous music is used to promote news pieces, and often you'll see out-of-context clips of a politician walking away from a camera or an official refusing to answer questions. They often make mountains out of molehills.

Kara Kenney at WRTV had a piece about high-pressure sales tactics being used by a travel agency to convince people they can afford vacations that they probably can't. Kenney and a hidden camera attend a presentation themselves and later sit down with a sales rep. The presentation includes a PowerPoint presentation that shows off several advertisers of prominent Indiana based companies and institutions that later turns out to be less-than-truthful. Kenney later experiences a high pressure salesman that becomes more aggressive with each "No".

Kenney says this investigation all started late last year when she entered to win a car while doing holiday shopping at a mall. Soon after entering that contest, she started getting calls from a travel agency.

This isn't ground breaking scandals, but this is a good story because this is the type of scam that happens a lot and can happen to every day people, even those who think they are immune to these types of tactics.

The other excellent sweeps piece is from Channel 13. Their story details how several state agencies have been paying millions of dollars in fees just because they haven't been able to pay their bills on time. The catch is that while these agencies are paying these fees, their core budgets are being slashed and services are being cut while state legislatures and Governor Mitch Daniels are saying that the money isn't there to provide services. But apparently, it is there to pay for late fees.

WRTV and Channel 13 should be commended for giving their reporters the resources, the time, and the patience that these investigations took.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Bike To Work Day

EDITOR'S NOTE: This has been kicking around my "drafts" folder for more than a week, so here is my rambled thoughts on Bike to Work Day and the state of cycling in Indinaapolis

I'm no stranger to discussing bicycling in Indianapolis, either on this blog or on other sites. I have been critical of some of the bicycling initiatives mainly because I think most of them do little to encourage casual cyclists to use their bike for transit, and therefore all you're really doing is giving the people already dedicated to bicycling more options. This is primarily based on that I once was a casual cyclist, and riding on the road in a traffic lane...with cars!... was once absolutely terrifying to me, and it takes a while before one can make that leap from neighborhood and trail riding to riding on the streets, bike lane or no bike lane.. I think expanding the above options (and well done, regular bike lanes for those already converted) will be a benefit to the entire community, and I think it is kind of re-enforced with my experience today.

Departing from my Pike Township-based home at about 6am and coming back at around 3pm, and using my bike for all transportation during that time, here's what I think could help this city get more people cycling:

Driver education: If you read any article on bicycling, there are ALWAYS several comments complaining about cyclists. "They need to use the sidewalk" or "Get them off the road" or "They never stop at stop signs/lights/" and on and on and on. But today, a motorist stopped in the middle of the left traffic lane (I was in the right) to tell me "the trail is for bicycles". Bikes, according to Indiana Code, have full rights to the road as long as they are in compliance with the bike code (bell, a light or reflector on both ends, and breaks).

Cyclists should assume all motorists are idiots: When I was learning to drive, I was always taught by my parents to assume that all other drivers are idiots and to avoid getting into situations where an idiot makes a call that could affect my car or my health. Similarly, us cyclists should do the same for the motorists we share the road with.

Why do I say this? When I was turning onto Pennsylvania Street, with all the cars several dozen feet away at a red light, I turn left and all of a sudden see a red car coming right for me. I peddled quickly to the other side of the street to yell at the motorist who just turned the wrong way onto a one way street. While you don't normally think you need to look BOTH ways on a one way street, I might just start doing that. You can't trust other people with your safety.

Cyclists should call out our own: I don't mean go up to the complete stranger who just blew through a red light. But if you're biking in a group, insist that everyone follow the rules of the road. Lead by example.

Also, when the media reports on some jagoff bikers who brag about ignoring the rules of the road, someone from one of the several bicycling organizations needs to contact the media outlet and condemn the aforementioned jagoffs.

Take a friend: I was fortunate enough to often bike with my family or another group of cyclists when I started riding about two years ago. Instead of riding with the same group, invite someone else along. Let them borrow a helmet if they need to, and slow down so they can keep the pace.

Indy Go Involvment: I think downtown Indianapolis being easily navigable by bike is one of this city's best kept secrets. But unfortunately, more casual cyclists who live outside of downtown might find it a bit of a challenge to bike to their job downtown. If Indy Go offered free or reduced rates for one day and promoted certain routes for cyclists to get on board at, I think it could help attract more people to public transit and get more people to bike once they get into the general downtown area.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Run Gubt Like Business....Except for the Gays!!!!!

Councilor Angela Mansfield has introduced an ordinance to open up city-county employee benefits to qualifying domestic partnerships. Mansfield mentions that most Fortune 500 companies offer domestic partnership benefits and this is simply responding to how business is done and how society has changed.

What I find funny is the comments section. I've noticed that my Republican friends often talk about "running a government like a business." Well, it turns out that businesses are already doing this as are many other local and state governments. So using their logic, this is just the local government finally catching up to how employee benefits are handled nowadays.

And while the article mentions that there should be bi-partisan support,with Mayor Greg Ballard likely to sign it, I expect this ordinance to be met with bi-partisan opposition as well.

Just some food for thought.

On another note, it has been a while and I've got a couple posts lined up for the next few days.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How Susan Brooks Won

The Associated Press officially is saying that Susan Brooks is the winner of the contested 5th Congressional District race for the GOP nomination.

Susan Brooks started out in the race, according to early polling by former Congressman David McIntosh, in the single digits with little name ID outside of Hamilton and Marion counties.

And that was in February 2012, not all that long ago.

She took those numbers and hit the pavement hard. She racked up a number of high profile endorsements, including Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman and former state GOP Chairman Murray Clark. And several low profile endorsements as well from county and city elected officials across Marion and Hamilton counties and elsewhere. She also had the big endorsement of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a rising star in the Republican Party.

In the last two weeks, she focused on her base and, just like Dan Burton did in the last two primaries, focused on driving them out.

And it paid off. She etched out John McGoff in Marion County, and her strength here and elsewhere etched out a victory from McIntosh.

She was incredibly accessible to media, both traditional and new. She attended every major candidate forum I can remember. I often heard that she sounded more sincere compared tom some of the other candidates. I saw an astounding number of Brooks supporters at the polls today, and they weren't all former or current elected Republican officials.

She also managed to win a Republican primary without an endorsement from Indiana Right to Life or the NRA. And she even had some shadowy group called "Campaign for Primary Accountability" running ads against her. These types of bridges will inevitably be built since she is the nominee, and will soon be racking up a voting record that will likely net her those endorsements in the future and stop those types of dreary ads.

The question now for Mrs. Brooks is what does she do now?

She certainly has a lot of time to think about it.

Congratulations to Mrs. Brooks and to her campaign.

My Pretend Vote for IN05: I like Wayne

The voters of the 5th Congressional District of Indiana are blessed to have several qualified candidates running for office in the Republican primary. It is a primary in one of the most Republican districts in the nation, so there isn't going to be a whole lot of ideological differences. So "character" should be more on the minds of voters than specific political issues.

But until the last two weeks, the bomb throwing was pretty low. And then it all blew up as if some type of Cold War pact was just broken.

But one candidate has remained above the fray while still having a chance to win.

That candidate is Wayne Seybold, the current mayor of Marion, Indiana.

I'm not going to try to spin his views as if they are somehow unique or exclusive to him, because they aren't. They all say they're pro-life, pro-gun, and conservatives in almost every aspect, and I take them at their word.

But Wayne is the only candidate running with significant executive office experience. That means he has crafted a city's budget on his own before. Not only will he know how to craft a budget, but he'll also know how the federal government's spending and regulations impact municipalities on the local level.

And that is something that is needed in today's Congress, that often seems disconnected from the people it supposedly represents.

He also has not demonized Democrats. He says he has a good working relationship with the many Democratic mayors in towns near Marion, and I believe he'd take that to Washington and be able to get things done.

If you live in the 5th Congressional district, I encourage you to cast a vote for Wayne Seybold.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Guest Post: Why I Support Treasurer Mourdock in the GOP Senate Primary

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one of several guest posts where voters express their support of candidates in tomorrow's primary. Brent Smith, an Indianapolis based food blogger, has chosen to vote for Treasurer Richard Mourdock in tomorrow's GOP primary. Mourdock is running against incumbent US Senator Richard Lugar. 

Conservative. Republican. Some people use the two terms almost interchangeably. However, the truth is the vast majority of us that consider ourselves the latter only do so because we are first and foremost the former. Conservatism is the philosophy that informs the choice of political party. However, as time wears on more and more of us are realizing that an elected official having an R beside their name doesn't necessarily mean they buy into our philosophy of constitutionally limited governance any more than they buy into tabloid headlines declaring JFK to be a space alien or the profitability of a Rosie O’Donnell swimsuit calendar. The only thing they really buy into is their own desperate need to cling to power, and any attempt at being principled is derided as somehow “extreme”. What nonsense.

Richard Mourdock appeals to me and other conservatives because he is one of us. A principled conservative? Yes, but absolutely mainstream in terms of conservative thought. He’s pro-life. He supports an individual right to own and use firearms. He opposes the wasting of taxpayer money on bailouts. He believes in the crazy idea that government shouldn’t spend more money than it generates in revenue. He believes that the “advice and consent” provision of the Constitution isn’t just another phrase that means rubber-stamping the President’s leftist Supreme Court nominees. These are agenda items on which every Republican should be able to agree. However, the campaign of Richard Lugar would want you to believe something entirely different.

According to the Lugar campaign such positions listed above are that of a “right wing extremist”. Are those your positions? Do you consider yourself an extremist? I know I certainly don’t. What are some positions I would describe as out of the mainstream of political thought? I’m glad you asked. Let’s list a few: Supporting a bailout for Wall Street, supporting Supreme Court justices that believe it’s perfectly constitutional for the Federal Government to make you buy a product, supporting amnesty for illegal aliens,
supporting taxpayer funded abortion, supporting restrictions on gun ownership, support for the disastrous Law of the Sea Treaty that would sacrifice American sovereignty, support for the auto industry bailout that Richard Mourdock opposed in court in order to protect secured bondholders. These are all things that Richard Lugar has supported. Do these seem like standard conservative positions to you? The Lugar campaign is right. There is one out-of-the-mainstream republican in this race. It’s their candidate.

I hate to say it, but I believe our country is in trouble. Our debt is soaring, people are dropping from the workforce like flies, our bureaucracy runs roughshod over job creators, and Dick Lugar has had 35 years to try to stop it. Unfortunately it has done nothing but get progressively worse. We have to make a change. It’s time to elect Richard Mourdock.

Guest Post: David McIntosh for Congress, IN05

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor that the David McIntosh campaign has been distributing. McIntosh is running in the GOP primary for the 5th Congressional District on May 8th. It is written by Marc Applegate, a Boone County resident.

As a Boone County Commissioner, I constantly think about how to improve the quality of life for residents and businesses in my county. From a county level, we have worked very hard to adjust to spending levels by taking necessary steps to cut our costs and to be good fiscal stewards.  The frustration is that no matter how successful we are, we feel like we have very little control of recklessness of our federal government on the lack of controls when it comes to spending.  Our citizens are fed up also and feel hopeless when it comes to this runaway spending.
The taxpayers of my county feel overtaxed and under-served. We are sending all of this money to Washington, DC, and politicians complain that it’s not enough while at the same time we’re reading about embarrassing levels of wasteful spending. Whether it’s the billions of dollars in Medicare mispayments or $800,000 parties in Las Vegas, Washington’s handling of the nation’s finances is out of control.
Besides serving as a commissioner, I am also a small business owner.  I know I can speak for all business owners when I say that the increased burden of government regulation has stymied our growth and kept us from hiring new employees.  Worse than this, the Obama administration has created an environment of uncertainty among employers by promising even more restrictive regulations, especially in health care and anything the EPA can get its hands on.
More than ever, it is crucial that we stop sending people to Washington who aren’t serious about taking on the big issues. Voters want to hear specifics about what they propose to do. We shouldn’t let candidates off the hook who remain vague on such important issues as bailouts, tax rates, regulatory reform, entitlements, and which parts of the federal government they will cut to get Washington’s spending under control.

If a Republican candidate can’t be specific on these kinds of issues, it usually means he or she will just get in step with the Republican establishment in Washington, and that’s not good enough. We’re all sick of this. We need policy leadership.
For these reasons, as a voter in the new 5th congressional district, I’ve thrown my support behind David McIntosh. There are a number of good candidates in the 5th district, but McIntosh is clearly the conservative’s conservative. He’s the only leading candidate in the race to oppose the Washington bailouts. He has gotten the highest rating of all the candidates from the NRA and is the lone candidate the NRA is endorsing. He’s also the only candidate in the race endorsed by the national free market groups, FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth, as well as National Right to Life. When Fortune magazine’s Nina Easton wrote a book on five people who have shaped the conservative movement, David McIntosh was on this list because of all he has done to fight regulatory regimes in Washington. David McIntosh was also one of the founders of the Federalist Society, which has done more than any group to raise up conservative judges around the country.
When the 5th district race began, I wasn’t sure whom I was going to support. But as I’ve read up on where candidates stand on the issues, I came to the conclusion that McIntosh is the most conservative, the clearest on the issues, and a history of doing what he says he will do. Let’s hope that in all of Indiana’s districts, we send the candidates to Washington who won’t shy from the big issues – and who aren’t afraid to tell us where they stand on them now.
Marc Applegate
Small Business Owner and Boone County Commissioner

Guest Post: Jack Lugar for US House, IN05

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following are a handful of e-mails I got in support of Jack Lugar. Lugar is running in the GOP primary in Congressional District 5. The 5th district extends from the northern parts of Marion County up to the more northern towns of Marion, Anderson, and Kokomo. He is running in a primary with seven other candidates.

After carefully comparing the qualifications of all the candidates running for 5th District Congressman, it is my firm belief that Jack Lugar is the ideal person to fulfill the demands of this position. All candidates appear to have varying levels of abilities, but it is Jack Lugar that has the best and most impressive capabilities to represent us in Washington. He is very low-key and modest in his approach while nevertheless being strong in his convictions and resolve to follow through in whatever is necessary to make the changes to restore our country's economy. His intention to maintain his residence in Indiana while commuting to Washington during Congressional sessions assures that he will maintain close communication with his constituents and best represent our interests on a current basis. While Jack has not had the advantage of widespread television exposure to promote himself as his opponents have, anyone who has read his weekly newsletters or witnessed him in the various candidate forums has no doubt that he is the best candidate running for 5th District Congressman and will be certain to vote for him on May 8. I am proud to endorse him and hope that other voters will follow suit so that we can have the best representation possible come November!

Karen Miller
Fishers, IN.

We have known Jack since birth and lived close to his family. Annually we get the families together for fun on the lake.  He has excelled in whatever he put his mind to do.  He is comfortable speaking and meeting new people.  He is well liked by family and friends.  He has the ability to get to the source of the information that he needs to make a good decesion.  We feel we need more up and coming men in our congress like Jack to make our country strong in every way.  Bill and Carol Reid from Noblesville, Indiana

I firmly believe Jack Lugar is the best candidate for Indiana’s 5th District. He is authentic and innovative; utilizing both conventional and unconventional means to reach out to Hoosiers and displays the boldness needed to represent Hoosiers in Washington. Last July, Jack entered this race and has steadily built up a very strong campaign marching in parades, walking door to door, writing a weekly newsletter, providing strong leadership in building an effective online campaign, and building relationships with Hoosiers through house gatherings and business luncheons.

Jack is a strong leader who will bring transparency and accessibility to Washington. Jack rose to the top of his field in the entertainment industry and then attended law school to prepare himself for service to his country. He is not only a great communicator whose message consistently resonates with Hoosiers, he is a devoted husband and father.

Throughout his campaign, Jack has been talking about raising up new leaders. He has dedicated himself to empowering younger generations to get involved in politics and make their voices heard. His dedication to valuing the individual and giving power to the next generation has deeply resonated. He believes in building up a strong team, training up new leaders, and extending his sphere of influence so that when he comes to the end of his self-imposed 10 year term limit the next generation will be able to carry on the mantle of leadership.

Jack has also been a strong advocate for veterans. Having met with veterans and seeing a need to create jobs, Jack came up with VIP: Veterans Introduction Program. VIP is a program that will help veterans assimilate back into the work force through a one year mentorship that will allow them to gain a skill set and give them a foundation for success.

Jack’s diverse work experience has prepared him to deal with a variety of challenges.  His work as a Realtor has given him a strong knowledge of the housing market and its importance to our economy.  His legal studies and work have offered him a solid understanding of the importance of the Constitution. In addition, he has learned how to skillfully work with opposing views while holding true to his convictions.  Jack will take this knowledge with him to Washington as he works to create jobs, reduce the deficit, promote the development of energy independence, offer workable solutions to health care, and defends our freedom.  

I believe that Jack Lugar is the everyday American Indiana’s 5th district needs as a leader to return our country to prosperity.

Elisabeth Lugar

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Guest Post: Why I Support Richard Lugar

EDITOR'S NOTE: In lieu of doing candidate profiles (which is actually quite hard to do in a primary race when candidates agree on 99% of the issues), I'm offering voters a place to voice their support for the candidates they are most passionate about. If you are interested in voicing support for a candidate, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at 

First up is a guest post from Chris Douglas of Indianapolis.  Chris is a decorated Air Force Officer, business owner, employer , and eighth generation Hoosier. He is supporting Richard Lugar in Tuesday's GOP primary.

In the Republican Primary on Tuesday, I am voting with enthusiasm not only for Richard Lugar, but against Richard Mourdock.  I encourage every Hoosier to vote in the Primary and do the same.

Why am I supporting Richard Lugar?  The list of reasons is extensive.  He is a Senator in the greatest tradition of Ancient Rome and of the New Republic that America became.   A man whose intellect, integrity to mission, and dedication to America's cause is on a historic plane.  He has changed the course of history in Indiana and the world... by effecting a unification of government in Indianapolis that redirected civic energy into a revitalized city rather than away from a crumbling one....   by guiding U.S. support suddenly from a Philippine dictatorship to a true Philippine democracy...  by navigating into U.S.  law historic arms reduction treaties with previously implacable national foes... indeed, by seeing down a long and winding road to the national and world terror that would be possible were nuclear weapons to fall into the hands of fanatic, suicidal enemies, and arresting that possibility peacefully. 

Domestically, Lugar has operated with immense political courage.  Promoting Indiana's traditional (though not universally shared) culture of compassion, Lugar supported an avenue to responsible citizenship for foreign youths within our borders who would otherwise be bereft of hope for a productive future, destined only to undermine rather than contribute to our prosperity.  Rather than buckle to extremists, he helped salvage the banking system, and thus the economy, from collapse in 2008.  (Hoosiers were never told, nor could we be for the panic it would generate, that we were within days of ATMS no longer dispensing cash; groceries no longer honoring checks or credit cards; domestic and international trade collapsing; and our employers' payrolls torched in a banking conflagration as bad as the Great Depression. )  Rather than to support gridlock and the disgraceful and dishonorable loss of our national credit rating that ensued because of extremism, Lugar took the unpopular but necessary step of supporting a raise in the short term debt ceiling, thus ensuring that the U.S. government honored payment on maturing Treasuries, without which cash even some of our greatest corporations would have failed to make payroll!   Far easier, as so many callow and cowardly politicians did, to place popular but unconscionable votes against all of these, playing upon the ignorance of Hoosiers as to the real perils at hand.  It is to master the issues on our behalf, while we are occupied with our livelihoods, that we endeavor to send great men to Washington, and Lugar is among the greatest men in Washington today. 

But I am not only supporting among the greatest men we have; I am opposing among the worst .  Mourdock has chosen to play upon our ignorance of the issues  and attack Lugar for the very votes that most reflect his integrity while he chose the national interest over his own political fortune.   That is despicable. 

Alas, my concerns about Mourdock run far deeper than his personal electioneering.  First, he from the beginning was supported not by Hoosiers, but by the shadowy network of multi-Billionaires who conceived of and established the Tea Party before Obama was even elected.  Their motivations have always been plain:  to preserve recent changes in the tax code, to which Mourdock has so helpfully pledged himself, which give to the super rich lower tax rates on passive dividend income than the tax rates on the earned income of the working class.  The patriot Lugar has made no such pledge to these billionaires, and so they must destroy him.

Without the overwhelming financial support from outside Indiana, Mourdock's bid would have died in the crib.  But it was the millions of dollars in SuperPAC money spent on his behalf that have deceived and distracted Hoosiers from our real interests.  The former Mayor of Indianapolis, military officer, Shortridge High School graduate, and holder of a farmstead in Marion County not a Hoosier?  A preposterous red herring.   The millions of dollars spent by SuperPACs to defame Lugar are still but a rounding error in the income the billionaires save annually in dividends taxed at privileged rates.  $5 million or even $10 million to distract Hoosiers and secure a senator's vote for hundreds of millions in tax privileges?  Cheap!

I'm concerned also by the fact that at least one of the billionaire families involved derives its fortune from the energy industry;  that Mr. Mourdock is an energy industry geologist who even while in office referred on at least one web page to continuing work as a "consultant"; and that this energy industry geologist wants to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency, an institution first founded by one Republican (Nixon) and run by another.. indeed... by a Hoosier (Ruckelshaus)!  (I remember when the skies were gray in Indiana... and fox, goose, mallard duck, crane, and great blue heron were not to be seen.)

Finally, I have concerns about how it was that Indiana came to acquire the junk bonds of Chrysler in the very month in which the Corporation's collapsing value became public.  Did some lucky investor succeed in unloading their bonds into Indiana's pension funds?  Did an investor group succeed in moving the bonds into Indiana funds so that Indiana would front for the litigation that corporate insiders in that month would have known was coming?  Why didn't some other investor group lead the litigation?  Did Indiana's tax payers shoulder more expense and suffer greater losses than necessary?    The personal relationship between Indiana's Treasurer and the Chairman of Chrylser's owner, Cerberus, troubles me.  What communication took place? 

In short, the day is no doubt coming when Senator Lugar must be replaced.  On that day, let it be by a man or woman, funded and supported by Hoosiers more than by outside interests, one whose character and judgment we can trust to master issues when we cannot, and vote with courage and integrity in Hoosiers interests when we ourselves can't.  Until the day that Lugar is no longer capable and a suitable replacement is apparent, I view it as the calling of all Hoosiers to vote in the Republican Primary and to cast their vote to return Richard Lugar to Washington.    

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Negative Campaigning Ramps Up in the 5th District

Negative campaigning has gone on the airwaves and into mailboxes in the 5th district. I've heard reports that direct mailing from the campaigns or PACS supporting John McGoff and Susan Brooks have slammed David McIntosh in the last few days. And McIntosh has responded to these mailers with a new television ad implying that Brooks and McGoff aren't really conservatives.

In case you've forgotten, there's actually a 4th candidate in the race: Marian Mayor Wayne Seybold. One of his ads takes a subtle swipe at McIntosh's residency issues by having the announcer say that Seybold "LIVES in Indiana" and will continue to if elected. But besides that mild swipe, Seybold's radio and television ads have stayed positive.

The following is a Letter to the Editor released by the Seybold camp. A bit of a history note: The letter mentions Congressman Mike Pence as an example on how candidates should campaign. It is worth noting that Pence ran for Congress before winning against an incumbent Democrat, and lost in part due to the perceived negative campaigning.

To the Editor:
As a candidate for office, I believe in bringing a positive approach to the position – a
confident campaign based on my conservative convictions.
Yet, today, after a long day of campaigning, I returned home to the epidemic that has
captured the Republican Party and the political world, as a whole. This epidemic has
torn down the fabric of not only our party, but our state and our great country. Sadly, I
returned home to a mailbox full of negative campaign ads.
Enough! Today, I’m calling for a stop to the negative campaigning that has gone on at
every level. As we look at the large obstacles facing our country today, it is sad that the
election system put in place by our Founders to fix these challenges is so broken. When
I see the great leaders of our communities, our party, our state and our country lashing
out against one another, I am disgusted by the fact that, as a prospective representative
of the people, we no longer seek victory in the arena of ideas. Rather, we mostly seek
victory by tearing down our opponents.
My biggest struggle as a father of three is how to explain to my boys the justification for
negative ads. These are people that they’ve met and have been encouraged to respect.
How are we, as parents, supposed to explain negative ads while teaching respect – that
it’s okay for adults who want to be leaders of our country to disrespect each other? How
are we supposed to reemphasize a key concept of our schools as anti-bullying
communities, when they see that we don’t have to live to the same standards? How are
we supposed to tell them that these are the leaders they should look up to?
continuedpage two – letter to the editor
As my staff and I have been out making calls and knocking on doors, we consistently
hear the same thing – “I am not going to vote, because I’m so tired of the negative
campaigning.” And the establishment wonders why we continue to have lower and lower
voter turnout?
We need to get back to the core values of our country. We need to get back to “We The
People” and the values of President Reagan, Governor Daniels and Congressman
Pence, who have sought to draw out the best in us, not divide us.
I encourage voters to get out and send a message to Washington, the State House,
County Courthouses and Town Halls. Enough is enough! Our party, our state and our
country’s future depend on it.
Wayne Seybold
Candidate for US Congress
Contact: Jeff Howe, 317-408-2481

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Mysterious Appointment of Stephen Clay to the Police Merit Board

The Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council oversees a lot of boards and agencies that they get to appoint members to. This usually results in a rush to fill these appointments after elections when there is a switch in the council's majority party. And even though the Democrats have had a council majority since January, many appointments are still being filled.

Many of these appointments are fairly uncontroversial, or they're overlooked because the two major political parties often practice the same methods. Losing political candidates, party insiders, and the well-connected often get a seat on these types of boards as a token of appreciation. Unofficially, the parties mutually agree to let these nominations sail through.

So it peeked my interest when Stephen Clay appeared before the Public Safety Committee on April 18th. Clay is nominated to be on the Police Merit Board, sponsored by Councilor Vernon Brown. After a bit of questioning from Democratic members of the committee, Clay's nomination was approved by the committee along a 7-2 party line vote.

I contacted the two Republicans that voted against Clay, Councilors Benjamin Hunter and Ryan Vaughn. Hunter told me that he voted against Clay for the same reason he'd vote against political pundit Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, writing that Clay "has chosen to be politically vocal." Hunter adds that he has the right to voice his political opinions, but says that these opinions would make it hard for Clay to be objective. Vaughn also mentioned that Clay has called for Frank Straub, the director of the Department of Public Safety, to be fired.

Both of these claims have some validity. Clay is a leader in the Baptist Ministers Alliance of Indianapolis, a group of ministers that not-so-subtly supported Democrats in the 2011 municipal elections. Clay has called for the resignation of Straub over the Bisard incident and the alleged beating of teenager Brandon Johnson.

I contacted Councilor Brown via e-mail and asked him to respond to Vaughn's and Hunter's statements. Brown compared Clay to past appointments from both the then-Republican council and Mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican. Mark Massa, who had run for Marion County Prosecutor as a Republican in 2010 and has ties to Governor Mitch Daniels, was an appointee from the previous council term. And James Jackson, a local pastor, supported Ballard in the 2011 municipal election and even cut two radio ads. Brown also mentions Clay will be the "only non Republican vote" on the seven member police merit board.

While I understand where Brown is coming from, I just can't help but think that there could be a better representative than Stephen Clay for the Democratic council's first appointment to the police merit board. Someone who very well might have the same thought process as Clay but without the baggage Clay brings to the table.

What do you think?