Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Shocker: Gay Newspaper Backs Ballard

Indiana's largest GLBT newspaper might be expected to endorse Mayor Bart Peterson (D) for re-election because of his support for the Human Rights Ordinance, but The Word editor Ted Fleischaker is planning to vote for Republican Greg Ballard and urges his readers to do likewise. Fleischaker, who also publishes the Up Down Town, lambastes Peterson for failing to see "Rome burning" the past 8 years. "The current administration has failed downtown and other local residents when it comes to keeping up basic infrastructure, looking out for residents' needs, tackling guns and violent crime and making sure we can pay for those services at an affordable price." Peterson allowed "massive amounts of taxpayer cash to pay for an over-priced book palace and a stadium which will mostly serve one privately-owned football team" he adds.

In the end, economics is driving Fleischaker's decision in this year's mayoral race. "Do we feel the party of Greg Ballard will do us any better as gay and lesbian citizens?" he asks. "The record has shown probably not. But we at The Word feel the need to get our towns finances back in order, our streets safer (for all residents--gay and straight) and our city back on track far, far outweigh any feel-good laws which are (let's face it) basically cosmetic." On that latter note, I would add that the city has not documented a single case of discrimination since the passage of the HRO. Put it simply, his office never enforced the human rights ordinance on the books prior to the passage of the gay rights ordinance and nothing has changed since its passage.

Fleischaker should be applauded for setting aside political correctness and peer pressure to jump in lockstep with so much of the gay community which blindly backs Democratic candidates year in and year out. It is worth noting that Fleischaker was the first person to publicly call for Rep. Julia Carson (D) to retire during last year's congressional election. He backed Kris Kiser, the first openly gay candidate in Indiana history, over Carson in the Democratic primary. Fleischaker was excoriated by many in the GLBT community for the move, but he admittedly proved himself prophetic. At least Kiser would have been able to show up and vote.

Political columnist Rick Sutton, who managed Kiser's unsuccessful congressional campaign, criticizes Carson and her staff in the November edition of The Word for its recent handling of her work absence because of her ongoing health problems. Sutton writes:

At this writing, U.S. Rep. Julia Carson is recuperating in a rest home from illness which began over three weeks ago. By any measure, that's not a good report. Her office has been brief, incomplete and tardy in its public updates on her condition.

Indianapolis voters deserve to know how well she is (or isn't). She retroactively requested one medical leave from the office of the Clerk of the House. Such requests are routinely granted. She renewed and extended that request and there is no official return-to-work timeframe from her office.

Like Fleischaker, Sutton knows all too well the political retribution this crowd heaps on you when you cross them. Sutton's candidate saw scandalous and defamatory stories posted about him on gay blog sites. Both Sutton's and Kiser's cars were vandalized during the campaign. How often has someone cut the brake lines on your car? Not your typical Halloween pranksters. Months after that primary campaign, Kiser told me his reputation had been damaged so badly by the primary race against Carson he was finding it extremely difficult to find employment.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes you just have to take a stand and do what you feel is the right thing.
Personally, I have often heard backroom comments from those in the Peterson Administration joking about the GLBT community much like they do with those in the black community.
I tend to agree that HMO was window dressing when the ordinance is not enforced. The same can be said about many of the Mayor's grandstanding programs like his war on abandoned houses which he cannot fight because he cut staff and funding from the H & H Corp to the point they can do little if anything about those houses.
I'm surprised at the endorsement on the one ahnd and then I'm not.
It's time the GLBT comes to realize that their votes have been taken for granted in the past and have received little in return.

Anonymous said...

"Put it simply, his office never enforced the human rights ordinance on the books prior to the passage of the gay rights ordinance and nothing has changed since its passage."

He put a lazy, do nothing political hack, Sherlonda Anderson, in charge of that office. What do you expect?

Anonymous said...

So does Scott Keller get a free ride even though he has pushed the Peterson agenda from the gitgo?
His positive vote on the HRO notwithstanding has he honestly done anything to improve the quality of life for EVERYONE in his district?
One vote on one issue does not the man make.

Anonymous said...

What in the world has any republican ever done for the gay community????? Pray for us????

Anonymous said...

Ballard leads Bart!


Anonymous said...

I guess I should say "thanks" for the mention, Gary, but I'm not so sure. I comment here now, at the risk of more wrath, but so be it. The personal attacks Kris and I endured, and the ensuing difficulties, are well-documented here and elsewhere. I've moved on. Gonna be a grandpa in February..so ya see, some things are a lot more important than politics.

Kris may have had post-06 campaign difficulties. That is for him to discuss. I thought his campaign was brave for multiple reasons. And when a 25-year friend called and asked for my help, I responded. I wasn't sitting at home waiting for a Congressional campaign to run. Life went on "hold" for a few months, and we were well aware of the implications and the chances of electoral victory. But it was something that had to be done. It was not done as an assault on Julia. Far from it.

The personal sacrifice was great, but it had absolutely nothing to do with Julia. She's a lady to the core--and someone whom I've admired for decades. I maxed out to her first Congressional campaign, while most of my fellow Bayh friends were supporting Ann Delaney, because I admired Julia's longevity in the party and her grit. Her Center Trustee work to that date was nothing short of remarkable. I've eaten chicken wings in her kitchen while she wore a housecoat, cooked over a cast iron skillet, and welcomed all to that great political debate in her kitchen.

My Word column this month also mentioned that this is no time to point out her current frailties. She has richly earned our respect. I only wish her staff--or whomever did it-- had shown the public some degree of respect in commenting on her ability to serve. And overall, my prayers are with her and her family.

Ted and I have good-naturedly gone back and forth on his Ballard endorsement for weeks. He knows I firmly disagree. "Firmly" is a kind word. I would like to point out that we have done so whilst remaining friends and civil. That's something lost in too many campaigns these days. One of us will be disappointed next Wednesday, but I doubt it will harm our friendship.

Ted is a truly unique individual. If you doubt me, start up a discussion with him on daylight savings time. And stand back.

Our community is richer and more colorful because of the Teds and Julias. And we'll not always agree lock-step with all our allies on every issue or campaign.

Wouldn't that be dull?

Rick Sutton

Anonymous said...

The gay community in Indy has always been predominately repubican....that is probably a thesis in the making as to the reasons...I dont see this as any earth shaking shocker!!

Steve said...

I am new to the area and therefore am not familiar with the intricacies of the politics - including the GLBT part.
I did want to say, though, that I do not understand why GLBT interests would be a democrat versus republican issue. The republican party has some skeletons when it comes to the issue, to be sure (e.g. the religious right), but then so does the democrat side (e.g. same-sex marriage).
I am an ardent Ballard supporter mainly because he is not Bart Peterson. I am a Kurt Webber supporter because I have met him and he is a decent, thoughtful man.
I believe in a couples right to marry, whether they are same sex, differnt sex, undeclared sex, or no sex. Does this make me one party or the other?
Thanks Rick for your courage and your conviction.

Anonymous said...

How did Peterson make Indy greener?
He gave the only square block of green space to the Simon brothers along with a 20 year tax abatement to build another damn office building.
Your out of here Bart!
oh! don't forget sweetpea when you leave.

Anonymous said...

Hey it's Ted from The Word. I have to say I have been swamped with calls & e-mails already saying they agree with the editorial, so maybe, aside from the usual bitchers & moaners this time more folks WILL vote Ballard 'cause it's just the right thing to do in this case---period!

One small correction, and a thanks Gary:

Our other paper is named Up Down Town and if one reads the editorial there this issue (www.updowntown.net) they will find it's not JUST economics driving my vote for mayor --- Ivan my partner & I were assauted physically (blood was drawn) by a street person demanding 30 cents in broad daylight 3 weeks ago at 9.30 am downtown. He's been arrested and is up on 5 charges ( you can see details there) but suffice to say as a downtown dweller safety is up there with economics saying let's give Ballard a chance to manage things!

As far as the thanks...thanks for remembering we indeed did say Julia needed replacement last election due to her health. Not because of lack of support, but because she was unable to get to congress to vote for our causes or any others. I wish her all the best, and on that Rick Sutton & I can agree!

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks, Ted. I've made the correction.

Anonymous said...

Ted, thanks for taking a stand. I, for one, respect you for it.

Hopefully, your paper will make a difference in how some vote.