Sunday, October 14, 2007

Schneider: The Marine Who Would Be Mayor

It's the kind of story no political candidate would want to pick up and read about his opponent on the front page of the major daily newspaper. With just weeks left in Indianapolis' mayoral race, the Star's Mary Beth Schneider has a long introductory piece on Republican Greg Ballard. Her opening sentence says it all: "Greg Ballard was so good at running things at a Saudi Arabian seaport at the end of the Gulf War that one of the generals nicknamed him the 'Mayor of Jubail.'" Here are some highlights:

  • "For Ballard, this is a ground war, as he shows up at anti-tax rallies, council meetings and parades. He's gotten some support but hardly enough to fill much of a campaign war chest."
  • "To Ballard, who ran business management seminars and taught at Indiana Business College before launching his campaign, being mayor would be "the next logical step" in a career largely dedicated to public service, whether it's serving in the Marines for 23 years or coaching Little League."
  • "Ballard grew up in a modest home in an Eastside neighborhood where people didn't send their children to private schools, much less college. His parents did both." "Except for a couple (of) good parental decisions, I could have gone a different way," Ballard said. "We were the only kids in our block whose parents were talking about college."
  • "Greg Ballard, the youngest of four sons, wore hand-me-downs and still remembers the first new outfit he had as a young boy: an Easter suit his dad bought for him at the 1950s discount icon Robert Hall."
  • "Ballard won a full scholarship to Cathedral High School by placing third in a citywide test. After graduating in 1972, he followed his older brothers to Indiana University, where he majored in economics."
  • "He talked to a Marine gunnery sergeant for two hours and took his advice: Get a degree, then join the Marines. He did both, graduating in 1978 and heading to Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Va." "Dan Lawhorn, a childhood friend, said he wasn't surprised by Ballard's decision. Ballard, he said, "is probably the most responsible person I know. When he (joined), you thought, 'That makes sense to me. That's a no-brainer.' "
  • "Slightly more than half of the 200 Marines in Ballard's class at Officer Candidates School made it through the program. He was named a second lieutenant and then went to Basic School, where he finished in the top 20."
  • "The job took him to posts around the world: Okinawa, Japan, where he and his wife lived after their marriage; the Detroit area, where their daughter, Erica, and son, Greg Jr., were born; St. Louis, where he was commanding officer of a recruiting station; Panama, his first experience in what he calls "bad guy country"; Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War; and, as a lieutenant colonel, to Germany."
  • "He was the officer who choreographed that military ballet, with about eight to 10 people directly under him and 200 or more Marines assisting in the mission."
  • "While in the Gulf, Ballard was promoted to major." His commanding officer, then-Lt. Col. David Kirkwood, said then that he was giving Ballard the highest compliment he could: "I would trust my son to him in war time."
  • "Kirkwood, now a retired colonel living in Jacksonville, N.C., recalls Ballard as "an exceptionally talented officer, easy-going and level-headed." Ballard, he said, "did the nitty-gritty. He was my stubby-pencil guy."
  • "Mayfield, who has been a recruiter for 24 years, said Ballard was among the best officers he's served under." Recruiting, he said, has "dibs" on the best majors, with only 48 nationwide chosen as commanding officers at any one time. "Obviously we want to get the very best majors, and he was. He was very, very fair, very firm. Very compassionate," Mayfield recalled. "He did a good job of inspiring men to be honest and honestly work hard."
  • "After deciding his children needed to have one hometown, Ballard retired from the Marines in 2001 and was hired as operations and distribution manager at the Indianapolis operations of Bayer, which is now called Siemens. He was second in charge, overseeing about seven supervisors and more than 100 employees who ship medical supplies and equipment across the nation." "In his first weeks on the job, Ballard said, he spotted a way to pare $1 million from an $8 million annual budget, simply by changing shippers to someone who charged $7 per box of hazardous materials, rather than $40 per box."
  • "He is not, he said, a "9 to 5" kind of guy. "He instead became a self-employed leadership consultant, while also teaching economics at Indiana Business College and writing a slim, self-published book, "The Ballard Rules: Small Unit Leadership."
  • "Ballard's hot buttons: punctuality and, given his experience early in life, anything that helps give children a better shot in life. It's why he joined for a time the board of the Lilly Boys and Girls Club in Fountain Square, tutored children and coached children's sports teams while a Marine."
  • "The last campaign finance reports, filed in April, showed Peterson began this campaign with $2.9 million, while Ballard had $9,560." "Ballard said he has struggled because he spent decades away from Indianapolis and isn't known in political or social circles. But he said fundraising has picked up in recent weeks."

When you get to know Greg Ballard as I have, you quickly realize he's no Bart Peterson. And that's a good thing. Peterson was born into wealth, never served his country, had doors opened to him because of who is father was, and has generally spent a life as an uppity resume builder. By contrast, Ballard grew up in a very modest family where he was taught good values. With nobody opening doors for him, Ballard has found his own way through hard work and determination. Ballard has accomplished much in life and held numerous jobs where his management and leadership skills were tested in times of difficulty. Each time he met the challenge and pleased his superiors. While Democratic operatives in this town have sought to spin Ballard as someone with a low intellect, you see from Schneider's story that Ballard has consistently raised to the top of any class with whom he's competed.

If you want to make a difference in this campaign, you need to forward Schneider's story about Ballard to as many of your friends as you can. People in this city must learn more about Ballard in the coming weeks if his campaign is to be successful. State GOP Chairman Murray Clark and Gov. Mitch Daniels have shut down contributions to Ballard by big-time contributors because they're both in bed with Mayor Bart Peterson. They don't want people to learn about Greg Ballard. They want to maintain control of our city in the hands of a few self-serving elites who don't give a damn about your priorities. Nothing frightens them more than the election of a completely independent man who will exercise governmental power free of their influence. If you want to take back your government, we must elect Greg Ballard. Spread the word.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Ballard article by Mary Beth Schneider in today's Star was outstanding journalism. The article, in spite of the fact it came from the Star, was as fair and balanced as it gets.
Bottom line, Ballard CAN run this city and he CAN run it well.

No, he didn't graduate from Political Candidate Prep School like his opponent but therein lies the difference. He's the real deal, not someone in a empty suit oozing with manufactured polish.

Schneider slid some pointed facts about Ballard's lack of monetary support by Republican Governor Mitch Daniels or that of any other members of the GOP local "elite". This backs up AI's and others contention that most if not all monied former GOP players are indeed in bed with the Peterson Camp when it comes to endorsements and contributions. These "players" may yet rue the day they put all their eggs in the same basket.

Don't count Ballard out just yet. Now you know who he is, where he came from and the experience he has to guide this city in a much needed new direction. It's your call voters. Cast your ballots wisely.

Anonymous said...

nice story...what are his specific plans for Indy.....I wonder if your readers will refer to his article as being printed in the "RED STAR" as they do when they dont like something printed in it.

Advance Indiana said...

Anon 9:03, to add further to the point, a few years ago the Star reported on the legal contract Baker & Daniels had with the City of Indianapolis. It included a specific clause which gagged then-Marion Co. GOP Chairman John Keeler, a B&D partner, from saying anything negative about Peterson. Murray Clark is now a partner at B&D and the firm is still doing all kinds of work for the City. Clark took this position after he was already elected state GOP chairman. After the absurdity of the Keeler situation, Republicans should have demanded Clark's resignation as state party chairman after he went to work for B&D. The fact is the firm's business takes a back seat to the well-being of the state party as far as Clark is concerned. This is self-evident to anyone with open eyes.

Anonymous said...

Too bad he came out in favor of consolidatition before the election, though....it may have been the honest thing to do, but, it will cost him Franklin, Perry, and Decatur Townships. No republican can win in Marion County with out them, and, neither will Ballard. I see the democrats carrying Decatur, and, why not? The lacluster GOP ticket deserves a spanking. Don't get me wrong, I'm not endorsing the democrats, but hey, they were in the backseat for 30 years, they witnessed all the republican hacks, eg, Jack Cotty, et al, and so on. It just the facts. Marion County will never elect another republican to County wide office again. Brizzi was the last. Examine that race....Brizzi had tons of money. His opponent, none. Brizzi had experience, his opponent was a friend of the mayor. Brizzi won by what, 3,000 votes? It will never happen again in Marion County. The GOP is DOA. Look for a royal spanking, and, for the first time in any one's memory, the democratic ticket will carry Decatur Township.

Anonymous said...

And can anyone forget the 2002 fiasco over the IWC sale and the fact that Peterson GOP allies at Baker and Daniels as well as other "player" firms raked in millons off fees from Peterson and his cadre.

Corruption just seems to be too nice a word.
It is more than apparent that these people stand to lose millions if Ballard were elected. In fact, there just might be a few that could end up in front of a Grand Jury once the house cleaning got started.
High stakes in a race that Peterson was to cake walk thru for a win.

Anonymous said...

Murray Clark has obviously been called out in this article. Tom John gets his marching orders from Clark and Clark gets his from the Governor.

Anonymous said...

Gary -- How is Ballard on LGBT issues?

Anonymous said...

I've known Schneider for a long time. Her journalistic abilities are mediocre, at best. And, like Tully, unless she's writing stories over there without a byline, there doens't seem to be a lot of work going on.

For all those who screamed that the media was dissing Ballard, read this puff piece.

Three and a half weeks out, a solid A-and-A would better-inform voter.s And the article should've been labeled "opinion" because it

Sir Hailstone said...

I'm shocked that Ryerson let this article get printed.

Though one good article of hundreds of bad ones a newspaper does not make.

OBSERVER said...

To Anonymous at 10:23 above on your question concerning how Ballard is on LGBT issues: Twice now I have attempted to make a comment on the presence of Ballard and others at the Lambda Legal Dinner, which of itself ought to say something about the fact that he's at least not afraid to be seen in the same room with members and advocates for that segment of the citizenry. Yet for some reason they are not appearing. Only the moderator knows for sure, but I hope it isn't because Gary's zeal for Ballard, which he has every right to articulate, hasn't lost to any "spin" considerations that might turn off the right-wing here. Maybe third time is charm for this kind of commentary.

Advance Indiana said...

Anon 10:23, This campaign doesn't have anything to do with GLBT issues as far as I'm concerned. For those interested, I've posted on several occasions what Ballard told me during an interview. He opposes any effort to repeal the HRO. He sees nothing wrong with the way the law is working. Beyond that, everything else is really irrelevant to this campaign. This city is being destroyed by self-serving people who are lining their pockets with our money. There is no hope of this changing unless Ballard is elected. The same people who have been raping the taxpayers for years will go on doing the same thing unchecked if we get four more years of Peterson.

Advance Indiana said...

Anon 11:41, there was only one comment which wasn't posted and it was written sarcastically with other overtones.

Anonymous said...

The Star did a great job getting facts out....Ballard is capable of doing the job. Ballard will make life better in Indianapolis.

How can there be a story written about Bart to equal yhis one? I guess he can get credit for the crooks at CCC.

Anonymous said...

The fact is the firm's business takes a back seat to the well-being of the state party as far as Clark is concerned. This is self-evident to anyone with open eyes.

You let your brain get ahead of your fingers. I think you meant that "the state party takes a back seat to the well-being of the firm as far as Clark is concerned."

Advance Indiana said...

You got it, anon 1:26.

Anonymous said...

My friend, a die hard D read the Star article, sent it to me and said Ballard has her vote.

Bart doesn't get it. He hasn't done what he has promised and it is a time for change.

Anonymous said...

Well, I do know a lot more about Ballard's life before politics, but what are his plans to manage the city? It will be interesting to read next week's article about Mayor Peterson. Will we learn about his prior life or will the Star choose instead to focus on Monroe Gray?

Sir Hailstone said...

"what are his plans to manage the city?"

After managing logistics, and having hundreds of Marines under your command - all the while getting shot at and bombed by Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army during Gulf War I, managing the City of Indianapolis should be easy compared to being over in the sandbox.

Sir Hailstone said...

I caught Sunrise this morning where the two usual suspects were telling people "The election's over". Matt Tully is showing his liberal stripes more every day. Robin Winston -- well what you see is what you get. A member of the Machine.

Of course what those two schmucks don't mention is why the GOP is lackluster in fund raising - because Bart Peterson has essentially ordered the GOP the "throw" the election, or face the loss of city business through the respective chairmen's law firms.