Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Brizzi Sets Himself Apart From Marion Co. GOP At Indy Rainbow Chamber

Marion County Republican Prosecutor Carl Brizzi set himself apart from more conservative elements of his party this evening by speaking at a meeting of the Indy Rainbow Chamber of Commerce. That’s part of a process he began more than a year ago when, on his own initiative, he enacted a non-discrimination policy to protect gay and lesbian employees among his staff of 168 attorneys and other support staff before the city-county council approved the human rights ordinance.

Brizzi highlighted his push, beginning last year, to bring Indiana law into line with all but four other states by enacting a hate crimes law. He doesn’t think it’s a good thing to be in the same category as Arkansas and Georgia on this particular score. Brizzi cited recent examples of hate crimes committed against gays and Hispanics to illustrate the need for the law. He noted the 1999 Jamie Carson case, the grandson of Rep. Julia Carson (D), where two gay men were subjected to incredible torture and sexual abuse at gunpoint by Carson and two accomplices during the commission of a home invasion. Brizzi says he’s been alarmed by a recent trend of signs being posted in Hispanic areas of the city offering a $100 a head bounty against suspected illegal Hispanic immigrants.

Brizzi engaged in a dialogue with his audience, encouraging their active participation in helping to convince the legislature of the need for a hate crimes law. Brizzi encouraged chamber members to help identify hate crime victims, who would be willing to tell their stories. While Indiana currently has a law requiring the reporting of hate crimes, Brizzi says it is ineffective without an accompanying hate crimes law to provide an extra incentive to gather the information. He believes he will have more success advocating such a law to the legislature than his Democratic opponent, Melina Kennedy, who is also on record supporting a hate crimes law. He observed that, even if the Democrats are successful in recapturing the House, the Senate and the Governor’s office will still remain in Republican hands. He believes he can more effectively reach out to the Governor and the Republican-controlled Senate to get the job done.

Brizzi was asked about the potential impact of the proposed constitutional amendment in Indiana to not only ban gay marriages, but also any legal incidents of marriage for any unmarried couples, straight or gay. In particular, he was asked about the amendment’s impact on the use of domestic violence safeguards for unmarried couples. He indicated that he does not think it would be wise to deny the use of domestic violence laws to protect unmarried couples. Brizzi also surprised his audience by predicting that the gay marriage amendment would not pass the legislature during the next session. That was certainly welcome news to the crowd.

Brizzi repeated his often used slogan, “criminals have a choice, victims don’t.” It is an emphasis on personal accountability he explains. To that end, he hailed his administration’s conviction rate for methamphetamine-related cases, 95%, and successful legislative efforts to regulate over-the-counter sales of Sudafed, a common ingredient in meth. Increased child support collection efforts by his office have increased collections by 16%, or $86 million over the past four years. He noted successful legislative efforts to increase criminal penalties for gang-related activities. The infiltration of outside gangs into the city poses a real challenge to his office. During a recent visit to the L.A. prosecutor’s office, he learned that MS18 gang members refer to Indianapolis as little L.A. An Internet sting operation his office conducted netted the arrests of numerous child predators. So many men offered to have sex to undercover investigators posing as young, teen-age girls on Internet chat rooms, Brizzi says it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Brizzi's Democrat opponent, Melina Kennedy, spoke to the group last month. Both candidates were well-received. As a nonpartisan group, the Indy Rainbow Chamber does not endorse any candidate for office. It welcomes candidates from both parties to its events.


Anonymous said...

Brizzi is a political opportunist. He said he would support hate crimes legislation and then did NOTHING. Shame on you AI to repeat this drivel. This is election year gimmickery. Go do something Carl (but not prosecute, you've lost my vote).

Wilson46201 said...

The rare gay-friendly Republicans in Indiana remind me of that quip by Johnson: "It's like a dog walking on its hind legs, it's not that it does it so well as the fact it does it at all!"

Anonymous said...

With regard to Brizzi vs Kennedy, the more important point is that we need a 'checks & balances' in this county. Since anything done by our Governor and other statewide officeholders is under the jurisdiction of the Marion County Prosecutor's office, having a Republican Marion County Prosecutor while the Governor and other State officeholders are also Republican is not the best arrangement.

We need a Democratic prosecutor, if for no other reason then that we have that important 'checks & balances'.

It just so happens that our Democratic candidate, Melina Kennedy, is a tested, very bright, very hard working, and tough individual, who could do an excellent job.

The icing on the cake is that she'd be a genuine friend to the LGBT community.

Jocelyn-Tandy Adande said...

Wilson 46201:

If I can recall correctly, Congressman Andy Jacobs never ran with the rest of the Democratic Party ticket. Nor did Evan Bayh.

Remember they ran seperate campaigns to get elected, neither one embraced all of the candidates on the Party's ticket in the fall elections.

Anonymous said...

Whether Brizi walks on his hind legs or not, it's refreshing to hear this kind of news. Keep it up, Rainbow Chamber.

And thanks, AI, for pointing this out.

Anonymous said...

I don't see it as "checks and balances". I see it as a "Lake County Democrat Cover Up". Why do you think Meliar is coming to Gary for fund raising? She's getting contributions and promising to castrate state government for the benefit of the Lake County Dems.

Kevin said...

I agree with the first comment. Didn't he do this song and dance before? What will he do to enact hate crimes legislation THIS time around?

Advance Indiana said...

Kevin, as Chris Douglas pointed out last night at the event, Brizzi initiated his non-discrimination policy and the hate crimes legislation without any cajoling or prodding by the GLBT community. He was not successful in getting the GOP leadership to take up the issue in the short session this past year--as you saw--their emphasis was on the passage of the Governor's Major Moves initiative. If you want to be upset at someone for there not being a hate crimes law, it should be directed at the Republican leadership in the legislature, not at Brizzi.

Anonymous said...

Just saw this report on TDW, in which it is reported that the Indiana State Police may be " also looking into Murphy and Brizzi" for some misbehavior in Lawrence. If true, this is dissapointing about Brizzi.

TDW's writes: And finally, there's a big "Rumor Has It" lurking out there that TDW thinks should get a little space to air out in cyberland.

Reliable sources say that the Indiana State Police are currently investigating Lawrence Township Assessor Paul Ricketts for a host of reasons, including possible ghost employment and mixing political activity with public service.

Apparently, Marion County Republican Chair and State Rep. Mike Murphy has been using Ricketts' taxpayer-funded office as a base to help coordinate part of Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi's re-election campaign, and, among other documentation, he's on tape taking all sorts of Brizzi materials to the office.

There's talk that the cops have enough to nab Ricketts, but they're also looking into Murphy and Brizzi. Reportedly, the Guv has been briefed on the situation.

That's the short version of what's circulating. There are all sorts of fun little sidebar and spin-off rumors -- including dropped charges and some old-fashioned parking lot mayhem -- that may relate to what's happening. Lots of questions. Lots of speculation. Anyone care to add details?

Anonymous said...

No Gary, you're shilling for the liar Brizzi again.

He made a big to-do about fighting for hate crimes legislation.

Than Mike Murphy said "uh huh" and Brizzi put his tail between his legs and went back to St. Elmo.

I'm not entirely convinced that Carl didn't know it couldn't happen, hence he could call for it without actually doing anything about it.

Wait, Carl do something only for the press coverage...

Anonymous said...

Well-spoken AI. But probably falls on deaf ears.

Kevin said...

Oh trust me, I'm outraged with republican leadership in the legsilature.

What is Kennedey's stance? Does she echo Brizzi's feelings on a hate crimes legislation? I wonder if she would be more effective with a democrat controlled house than Brizzi was with a republican house?

Advance Indiana said...

Kennedy's position on hate crimes legislation mirrors Brizzi's. I would point out that no actual bill was introduced this year, but you should also be asking why our own GLBT leadership failed to find a single legislator on its own to introduce legislation either by a Republican or Democratic member. The fact is, they made a conscientous decision to do nothing. If you want to be upset with someone, be upset with IE and its paid lobbyist, Mark St. John. Brizzi has a successful track record of getting bills passed through the legislature, which he supports. The gang-related legislation and the Sudafed bill are two recent examples. Brizzi has pledged to try to get the Indiana Prosecutors Association behind hate crimes legislation. That organization is run by a former Republican senator, Steve Johnson.

Anonymous said...

They'll never admit it publicly, but Chris D. and other gay Republican activists have been pushing public officials and candidates in their party to get out ahead of the Democrats on the tolerance issue in order to steal the issue from the politcal party that, though not perfect, has usually always been a better friend to us than the R's. God bless Chris and his friends for doing so, but it is patently ludicrous to suggest that CB is making these efforts without the urging of people who want to point his party in better direction.

Anonymous said...

Balance is keeping a repulican as
prosecutor up against the blog of
democrats in office at county level. Is anyone interested in
reviewing Kennedy's resume..not
soundbites off commercials or empty's one we all would like to know Melina...who was lead
council against Shell Oil...not you?

Anonymous said...

IE made its choices, and I understand them, even if I politely disagree.

They need to find new lobbyists, though. Their current and former lobbyists are widely viewed as a joke in the halls of power.

Chris Douglas said...

Anon 1:11 pm, I appreciate the blessing, but decline the honor.

I have no interest in denying the Democratic Party an issue, or even necessarily merely in moving the Republican Party forward.

I am more interested in delivering progress by having both parties compete for the gay vote by offering policy progress. Until moderate Republicans started to compete, the Democratic Party in Indiana was doing nothing serious for us whatsoever, merely commiserating with the gay community about how bad Republicans were, and collecting gay votes.

What's more, the willingness of moderate Republicans to move forward has stemmed from the general progress toward tolerance in the population as a whole, including among Republicans. It would be self-defeating, in my opinion, not to leverage this reality.

Here in Indiana, there is certainly a population of moderate Republicans who support the Governor's initiatives in Toll Roads and Daylight savings and are loathe to embrace the Democratic economic program (or a lack of a serious one). They will vote Republican to preserve important economic initiatives (for heavens sake) were supported by O'Bannon and Kernan (Daylight Savings) and legions of Democrats in other states (Toll-road leasing.)

In my opinion, Democratic attacks on the Governor's economic program force a truly regrettable Hobson's choice.... between the social irresponsibility of social conservative Republicans and economic torpor that characterized the leadership of the State Democratic Party. It seems to me serve well if we move the GOP to moderation on social issues and the Democratic Party to support economic competitiveness initiatives.

I can influence the GOP on social issues; I can't influence the Democratic Party on economic issues. (Who are you, and can you?)