Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Indy Fire Merger Takes First Step

The Indianapolis City-County Council gave approval to the first merger of a township fire department with the Indianapolis Fire Department. By a vote of 17-10, the council approved the merger of Washington Township's fire department into IFD next year. Republicans Scott Keller, Marilyn Pfisterer and Ike Randoloph joined the council Democrats in supporting the merger.

The Star's Brenden O'Shaughnessy reports that GOP Minority Leader Philip Borst "said he didn't think supporters had made the case that a merger will create efficiencies or savings, especially without any station closings or layoffs." "I'm just not convinced," he said. "It doesn't make sense that we're enhancing public safety by doing what it already sounds like we are doing." His logic ensures continued minority status for the GOP on the council. Remember Mr. Borst, it was the Republican Party that brought us consolidated government in Marion Co. Are you saying that was a bad idea?

Ike Randolph is making much of his decision to vote in favor of the proposal as if it represented a profile in courage because he was going against his GOP colleagues in supporting it. Randolph voted for job security and nothing else. He's a long-time employee of IFD. And just what is up with Greg Garrison having this has-been politician on his WIBC radio program every morning? Nobody cares what Ike Randolph has to say Garrison.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if your argument that Randolph voted for the plan to preserve his job makes sense. As an IFD firefighter, his job is already secure. Even if he was voting for the merger to secure his job, it doesn't negate the fact that he made a smart move in supporting a plan that, if completed, will eventually improve fire service throughout the county. Motivation rarely matters; benefits and drawbacks always do.

I would also have to argue with your contention that no one cares what Randolph has to say on the matter. As an editorialist whose paper is supportive of consolidation, the thoughts of a possible -- if unlikely -- mayoral candidate is certainly of interest. And others would probably agree on that score.

Gary R. Welsh said...

So you don't think his boss has any leverage when it comes to votes pertaining to the fire department? Think again. IFD will benefit greatly from that bigger tax base. It will come in handy in helping to pay for that huge unfunded pension liability.

As to his mayoral ambitions, I don't think anyone takes him seriously other than himself. That should have become clear after the rank-and-file GOP workers revolted against his attempt to step into Murray Clark's senate seat. It seems he has a problem keeping his word.

Anonymous said...

RiShawn Biddle: delightfully self-righteous; amusingly ill-informed.

Anonymous said...

Randolph's boss may have leverage, but Randolph is also a civil servant who's job is secure; the fire chief isn't going to be so stupid as to mess around with a city-county councillor without some sort of real cover to do so. There are two political players involved here and one of them actually is elected by his citizenry. The latter beats appointed bureaucrats in most cases. What do you think would happen to Council President Monroe Gray, another firefighter, if he decided to oppose? We know the answer to that one.

Whether or not he should be the only one taking his own word seriously about his political ambitions isn't the question at the end of the day. If others are giving him at least grudging acknowledgement on that score, than it should be given consideration. One is entitled to their own opinion, but reality must also be acknowledged.

In the case of the Murray Clark debacle, Randolph's bid fell apart mostly because 1) the Hamilton County contingent had their own candidate, Mike Delph, and they wanted him in and 2) the Marion County delegation was divided, with most opposed to Mike Murphy crowning Clark's successor without their consent. Randolph was more victim of being chosen by an ineffective Republican party chairman than of his own efforts.

And Gary, let's not forget the matter of racial bigotry in all this. Many rank-and-file Republicans were annoyed that Randolph was picked as a sort of Black standardbearer for a rather White political party. Also, there were plenty of rumor-mongering about Randolph, claims that he was lazy and unwilling to do the work. Anyone who is Black can tell you that when such rumors are made, they are as likely to be racially motivated smears as they are likely to be true. To think that race didn't factor into any of this Gary is to be blind, deaf and dumb to the reality that is Indianapolis' political scene.

Anonymous said...

Randolph and (if there were a tie vote) Mr. President on this issue...

Lincoln Plowman (another mental giant), Sherron Franklin and Dane Mahern on police consolidation...

Why in the world should someone whose income is derived from the department(s) in quesiton, be allowed to vote?

Mr. Randolph can run for anything he wants. The radio talk hosts have logged more time with this guy than almost any other guest. And it's always inane.

I've heard IR married a chemist or scientist at Lilly. If so, he out-married himself intellectually.

His 15 minutes were up last year.

Say, RB, great comments...and why does Amos Brown hate you so much? I might wear that like a badge of honor.

Chris Douglas said...

I would like to respond to your thoughts on Ike Randolph, RiShawn, which while following an understandable narrative, do not actually reflect what happened to Randolph.

Randolph hit the rocks not on the topic of race, but on the topic of ideology and character, simultaneously losing moderate and conservative support.

Randolph won his seat following a moderate game plan, which plan has been successfully executed also by Rokita, by Daniels, and by Keller. Namely, all took public pledges of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, clearly establishing distance between themselves and the right wing social extremists of the Republican Party and allying themselves with the majority of the population, not to mention the majority of Fortune 500 companies.

Understand that the gay community's support or opposition has become critically important in potentially close elections. Witness the loss of incumbent Atterholt to David Orientlicher, a campaign in which Atterholt had established an unfavorable record in the House with his opposition to hate crime legislation including sexual orientation. Atterholt was far more conservative than a moderate Indianapolis district could sustain.

Recognize that gays are born into Republican and Democratic families alike, and therefore many gays will support old-school moderate Republicans of the Hudnut, Orr, and Lugar variety, but not new-school Republicans of the right wing. Had Atterholt been someone that gays could have supported, he might have gotten those extra dozen or two of votes in his district. (With a few phone calls, I'm sure a friend and I alone could have tipped it for Atterholt.)

Anticipating a coming battle for a human rights ordinance, and understanding Randolph's race to be one that could be decided by the gay community, glbt Republicans sought and obtained from Randolph an agreement to back the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the Human Rights Ordinance. Indeed, I personally held a fundraiser for Randolph at my home on the Northside.

We had every reason to believe Randolph would be a vote for an inclusive ordinance. Without his share of gay community vote, without the votes and support of a number of gay citizens, Randolph would not have gained his seat.

But after his election, and as the vote approached on the HRO, Randolph did not return phone calls either to us or our allies. Rumors circulated that he was going to vote against us, but he would not communicate to us, to his glbt constituents, or to other city county councillors what his reservations were. Had his reservations and intent been genuine,he would have been commuicating in a helpful effort to resolve them. Many could only conclude that the good faith of the gay community had been abused and, as importantly, that Randolph was not a man of his word.

These issues became publicized within the Republican Party among those whose support Randolph sought. As Randolph vied then for the Murray seat, the landscape had shifted considerably. Conservatives could not trust Randolph because they knew he had treated with the gay community. Moderates abandoned support for Randolph because members of the gay community served notice that no moderate Republican who supported Randolph would be supportable in the gay community.

Randolph understandably would promote a different narrative as to what produced the end of his senate bid. No doubt racism exists in the Republican Party, harbored amidst all the bigotries of the extreme conservativism that has infected a faction of the GOP. Indeed, it was that faction of the Party to which Randolph attempted to endear himself when he voted against the inclusive human rights ordinance. Some might say it was folly to try, for bigots seldom reserve their bigotry for just one group, applying it instead to ALL who differ with them.

But Randolph also lost the natural support of Party moderates, because he had proven that he was not capable of the inclusion that educated people in Indianapolis have come to expect and, worse, that he was not principled.

Randolph's loss represented precisely the achievement of Martin Luther King's dream: He was judged not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.


Anonymous said...

I'm not going to dispute your narrative as far as it being a part of an overall narrative of what happened last year. But your narrative fails to deal with the other events that happened that had little to do with Indy's gay community: The lack of good groundwork by Mike Murphy in getting consensus on who he should name to succeed Clark. The antipathy between Randolph and some of the Republicans in the party, including those who worked for Randolph during the campaign. The desire among Hamilton County Republicans, a small contingent in the district, to have their own guy in the spot and the willingness on their part to battle for it. And, without question, the racial element surrounding both Randolph's selection by Murphy and the antipathy from folks who are as likely to have made a race an unspoken reason for opposing him, but aren't stupid enough to admit it in public.

This isn't saying that the gay rights element didn't play a role in this. But saying that the Randolph debacle is a matter of "content of character" issues based on a series of political positions is as overly simplistic as claiming it was all about race. Both issues may have played a role in all this, but neither was absolutely dominant.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Chris' analysis of Randolph is quite accurate. Aside from the gay rights issue, though, you will find a similar sentiment from rank-and-file Republicans who busted their asses to help get him elected, while he felt no obligation to lend assistance to anyone else in the party after he got elected. Rishawn--you are way off the mark to think the GOP has in any way been racist towards Randolph. They've bent over backwards to help him more than just about anyone. He got more assistance with his council race from the party than many state house candidates get from the party. Any problems he has within the party are of his own making and have nothing to do with the color of his skin

Chris Douglas said...

RiShawn, winning a seat, whether it is for the city county council or the senate, is matter of addition, not subtraction. Isaac succeeded in the math of addition in his run for the city county council seat, but became practiced in subtraction thereafter.

You are correct that antipathies built to Murphy's selection, but the problems were that Murphy selected a guy without first understanding the considerable baggage he had developed.

This is a common problem when the conservative-oriented leadership misreads the electorate and the rest of the party. (It was evidenced in the attempt by party leadership to annoint run David McIntosh, for instance, for a statewide office. The guy was unelectable because of his ideological bent. Or in any number of conservatives against Julia Carson.) The same became true of Isaac Randolph. His opponent stole a midnight march on Isaac, but Isaac was left alone because the moderates at every level of the Party, who had previously backed him, fell silent.

Randolph's support for the city county council seat came more from state level Republicans than county level, as far as I'm aware. He was supported in State level gatherings like no other candidates for local offices. The antipathies you cite resulted from Randolph's disappointing performance on the council in allying himself with the retrogrades. (Note that Daniels expressed support for merger, as did old-line Republicans, including Lugar folks and SerVaas, let alone business Republicans associated with our major corporate citizens, and the Indianapolis Chamber.) Randolph's opposition to both the police/sheriff merger and the inclusion of sexual orientation in the HRO disappointed everyone. You'll notice that many important Republicans fell silent, and it had everything to do with the candidate, and little to do with who selected him. Randolph has no one to blame but himself.