Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Beth White Knew About Abduallah's Residency Problem

Abdul Hakim-Shabazz drops this little bomb this afternoon. Marion Co. Clerk Beth White's office knew when Patrice Abduallah (D) filed his statement of candidacy for the 15th District council seat his address listed at 1144 N. Warman Avenue did not match his registered voting address at 937 N. Sheffield Avenue. White's office informed Abduallah that the addresses did not match and that he needed to amend the form according to Shabazz. Of course, if he had changed his voting address, it would have revealed he lived outside his councilor district because 1144 N. Warman is located in Councilor Marilyn Pfisterer's office. Beth White owes the people of Marion Co. an explanation as to why she took no affirmative steps to remove Abduallah from the ballot after learning of the discrepancy. You can bet she wouldn't have turned a blind eye to a Republican candidate for office.

The Marion Co. Democrats plan to hold a press conference tomorrow morning on the issue. WTHR is now catching up with the blogs on this story. Mary Milz turns in this lead story tonight, without any attribution to Advance Indiana breaking the story, of course:

There are questions about where a member of the City-County Council lives. By law, all council members must live in the district they represent.

Council member Patrice Abduallah represents the 15th district of Indianapolis. He lives on the western edge of the district on Warman Avenue but his house is on the west side of the street - in the 14th district.

It's a new wrinkle for the City-County Council. The city's own site shows that Abduallah, a Democrat, is represented by a Republican council member.

Abduallah is a first-time councilor representing District 15 on the city's near west side. He's running for re-election unopposed. Technically, He lives in District 14, which is represented by Republican Marilyn Pfisterer, according to candidate forms he signed in January. They show his residence at 1144 N. Warman.

Warman is actually the dividing line between the two districts. Abduallah finds himself living on the wrong side of the street. He's actually just 25 feet from living in the right district. "He would have to be on the east side of Warman to be in 15," said Andy Mallen, election administrator. Mallen says it's all news to him and the county election board.

"In this case the board has not received any challenge at all and in fact, the board's ability to hear such challenges ended in March," said Mallen.

But Abduallah's residency was an issue during the last council meeting when protesters disrupted the mayor's budget address, upset over the income tax hike.

As we talked to Mallen about Abduallah, the councilor walked in, concerned. "I'm devastated by the whole revelation but I don't want to talk about it," he said, adding that he would attempt to straighten things out and his intention to run again in the same district.

While Abduallah declined further comment, documents show he lived on Sheffield when he first ran, which is in district 15. Construction work on that home was stopped by the city for violating building codes.

Deputy Mayor Steve Campbell said over the phone he's not worried about the validity of Abduallah's votes, including the one to raise the county income tax. "There's case law on that," he said.

But there are questions about whether Abduallah can run for re-election.

State law says Abduallah has to resign. County Democrats will hold a news conference Thursday morning to address the questions his residence raises.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what to make of Beth WHite's involvement, or lack thereof, in this situation. That will process itself in due time.

But Mary Milz ought to be ashamed of herself for not linking this story to blogs, specifically this one.

I emailed her as such just now, and copied her news director and station manager.

Patrice is so gone. And good riddance.

Katz said...

Late Monday I forwarded your blog about this to Tully to give him a poke in the ribs on it. He said they had the City-Hall guy digging on it. I know WTHR and the Star are "media partners" so who knows. I doubt I'm anywhere near as important as I think I am and they had their best cub reporters on the scent.

As a candidate I learned the whole filing, challenge and election process. From what I gather the Clerk doesn't have a responsibility to determine the validity of someone's campaign; someone outside the office has to challenge by a specific date before the primary (as set forth by different laws.)

Before the rest of the partisan peanut gallery rolls their eyes, hear me out...

In the grand scheme of things the lack of Clerk liability for the validity of candidates makes sense. If the Clerk could veto anyone's candidacy on a whim any opposition could just find themselves randomly missing from contentious ballots.

The duty of challenging a candidate comes from the public (or zealous party officials.) The R's dropped the ball here (or at least at this stage in February.)

Both parties have a few options. Tomorrow's press conference will hold the key. I could speculate more (and I'm sure the rest of the people here will, too) but we'll get there when we get there.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic job, AI, investigating this and reporting it. It is just astounding that the main stream media is only now paying attention.

Also, kudos to the anonymous ordinary citizen protester at the CCC meeting who raised the concern about this.

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Abdullah had appeared to be a threat to the Democrat agenda, rest assured Mike O'Connor or a member of the Ghetto Mafia would have challenged him in slating or before the Primary Election. He had to pledge his loyalty to survive. Is is no wonder the name of Andre Carson, grandson of Julia Carson, has recently surfaced as a possible replacement for his council seat. Timing is everything just ask Julia Carson.

Actually, the subject [his residency] was mentioned during the 300 East Bar in the Julia Carson Government Center controversy last year when he opposed it, but later he was not available to oppose the final decision made to open 300 East. The bar is located in District 15.

Anonymous said...

Beth "Incompetent" White strikes again.

Anonymous said...

If what Jon Katz says is correct, and Patrice Abdullah is allowed to remain on the council because nobody protested his candidacy is for someone to challenge ALL candidacies upon filing whether the challenge has merit or not. Make them come up with proof that everything is in order and proper.

Yes it would make for quite a backlog of things but hey if that's the way they want to play it....

Sir Hailstone said...

Gary - about midnight or so the "Ryerson Rag" posted that Patrice Abdullah is going to resign his council seat.

I'm sure your inbox is now brimming... and believe it or not the Rag at least mentioned "local internet blogs" as having a role. In face Patrice himself blames the blogs and the media for his problems and not himself.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Steve Campbell! There is case law to prove the existence of Santa Clause too.

Beth White has just proven her worth-lessness again. If she can get the polls open, and find enough city cars and taxis to haul the population of Crown Hill to them, Bart might have a snowballs chance.

Anonymous said...

Candidates for district offices are to use the address and precinct on their voter registration. This should have been questioned and verified by the county election board. ]

This is another major mistake made by newly elected Beth White as county clerk. These people do not know the process to be in charge of elections in the state's capitol.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing Beth White could have done about this. A citizen has to bring a challenge, and the Election Board handles it from there.

Anonymous said...

And nothing from Wilson....
Whats the matter wWilson? Afraid to say so when you're wrong???

Anonymous said...

I think your point is a good one to raise, Gary. But I just checked all the election statutes I could find. I don't think there were any laws broken here...

A citizen complaint is the most-direct avenue for redressing these kinds of grievances.

I have no opinion on whether it was smart for Beth to notify Patrice, but she did it.

I have reviewed her plans to ensure the fall election goes better. I must say, it's a candid self-assessment. She never ducked--she took every blow that was aimed at her, ,and used it as an opportunity to do better.

My fingers are crossed.

Anonymous said...

I just emailed this to two House members in my area as a possible change in Indiana law.

RE: Regarding a candidate that files for an office and does not reside in the district.

After reviewing the law I find nothing that provides for a timely disqualification of candidate. By law the Election Board can only rule on a disqualification after a registered voter's sworn statement or the sworn statement of a candidate or person acting on behalf of a candidate.

As you may be aware there is a situation in Marion County that has resulted in a candidate not meeting the residency requirement and the county clerk apparently knew of the ineligibility. There should be procedures followed to prevent future problems of this nature.

I would suggest the following:

The individual(s) responsible for accepting candidate filings should confirm that the individual does live in the district and indicate their finding on the form. The County Clerk or in the case of counties like Marion or Allen, the Election Board Director should also confirm the finding if they were not the primary person responsible for accepting candidate filings.

The County Clerk or Election Board's office should notify the person filing candidacy papers if they might not be eligible based on residency or other requirements. They may be allowed to rescind their filing or request an appearance before the Election Board to provide any support for their candidacy filing. Such request may be made verbally by the candidate. A letter shall be sent to the candidate specifying the date of the hearing and the reason for the hearing. It should describe whether the boundary splits their street, they do not reside within the city or other reason.

This in my opinion would best serve the voters and allow a potential candidate to save face instead of the embarrassment to them and the political party involved.

I hope this is given serious consideration and of course a change is made to election law providing for the above.