Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Star Council Endorsements Make No Sense

After I posted yesterday complaining about the Star's endorsement of a Democrat in an open Republican seat and the difficulty of Republicans regaining control of the council if the party loses any of the seats it currently holds, I learned a bit of information which doesn't lend much credence to the Star's endorsement policies. Republican councilor candidate Christine Scales tried unsuccessfully to talk to the Star's editors about their endorsement process before it took place. Yesterday, the Star endorsed her opponent, Carey Hamilton, without ever interviewing Scales. An incensed Scales reached editor Tim Swarens after the publication of yesterday's endorsements. Swarens offered her only a weak apology. How can you make endorsements if you've never even bothered to speak to the candidates in person?

There is more evidence the editorial staff doesn't even bother to interview these folks. Take for example the paper's endorsement of Councilor Vernon Brown (D) for re-election. Of his Republican challenger Adam Longworth, the editors write, "Longworth lacks the experience needed to serve effectively on the council." Obviously, the editors haven't attended any council meetings as of late. Longworth has appeared and testified frequently on issues of importance to the constituents in his district. What I've seen in Longworth is a very thoughtful, articulate and well-studied young man in stark contrast to a bombastic and inarticulate Vernon Brown. The fact that Brown sponsored and supported the income tax increase was enough for the Star's editors. Let's just forget the fact that Brown had a personal stake in that tax increase as one of the highest paid members of the Indianapolis Fire Department. Like Gray, his fellow firefighters complain he is often doing council work or other extra-curricular activities during regular work hours, raising additional concerns of ghost employment.

I'm no fan of Sherron Franklin, but how could you endorse Brown and not endorse her? The Star's editors claim she hurt the city by voting against the police merger and causing the ouster of Steve Talley as council president in favor of Monroe Gray. Excuse me, but Talley only became council president in the first instance because Franklin joined a rump group of Democrats and Republicans and elected Talley president. I don't believe Franklin deserves re-election either, but the editors should at least get their logic straight in offering reasons not to re-elect an incumbent councilor. Republicans need her seat to regain control of the council, but as I pointed out earlier, if Hamilton beats Scales, it's going to be next to impossible for Republicans to take the council.

The Star's editors endorsed Andre Carson (D), who is running unopposed in my district. It's obvious the editors didn't interview him. "Carson, an investigator with the Indiana State Excise Police, is the grandson of U.S. Rep Julia Carson," the editors write. If they had bothered to consult either Brendan O'Shaughnessy or Jon Murray on their news staff, they would know Carson quit his job as an excise officer a couple of months ago to accept a new marketing job with Cripe, an architectural/engineering firm which does business with the City of Indianapolis, raising serious conflict of interest concerns.

The editors offer no surprises in endorsing the re-election of Councilors Scott Keller and Dane Mahern, both of whom face stiff competition in their re-election bids next week. It's hard to find a common theme in the endorsements here though. Keller voted in favor of the county option income tax increase, while Mahern voted against it. Keller supports more subsidies for downtown development, while Mahern wants to curtail the subsidies.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

As far as not interviewing candidates, it has been brought to my attention that Paul Dijak-Robinson, Libertarian candidate for District 16, was rescheduled 4 times before he finally got his interview. In fact, he had already gotten to the offices before anyone even bothered to tell him on at least 1 occasion.

The Star is about a fair and unbiased as anything Karl Marx wrote.

Ugh...

Anonymous said...

i completely agree with AAs comment about the process and resulting endorsements. they seem like they are written by different people in many cases and they don't seem to reflect the political reality in this city.

on the bright side, i truly believe the only people that read these are the informed and involved who have made their decisions. this will play little to no role in the election.

ok, help me here. why is dane mahern seen as being in trouble in the election and vernon brown not?

also, does the star not know about browns alleged wreck of a city car while allegedly being intoxicated and then allegedly covering it up? it is one of the worst kept secrets among those paying attention. his notorious tactics also undermine their endorsement.

Anonymous said...

Keller has cut a deal with O'Conner that if elected, he will turn Democrat to return control back to the Dems. So much for the idea of a Republican takeover.

Anonymous said...

Let's not get carried away. "Das Kapital" the Star is not.

Nonetheless, the endorsements make perfect sense to me.

The Star, and most major media outlets, are in love with their access to powerful people. They won't do anything to harm that.

Vernon Brown is a complete and total joke. Most folks know it.

Sherron Franklin is an inarticulate hack. Her proposal last night was eight months tardy.

Endorsing Andre. A huge belly-laugh. There's a risk for you--endorse someone unopposed, grandson of a poltical scion...and don't even interview him. And get his employer wrong. Perfect.

Endorsements can make sense. I read the Peterson endorsement three times, and I liked what I read. I thought it was balanced and fair.

But these council endorsements--what a joke. It will make zero difference.

Anonymous said...

call merle sidener middle school at 226.4259 and demand that they stop allowing political signs to be posted on their property along keystone avenue.

Sir Hailstone said...

I think we can agree the Star is becoming more and more irrelevant with respect to political reporting all the time.

If you want to read about what's going on with the Colts - read the sports page. Otherwise - forget it.

The pattern should be crystal clear - Endorse Julia Carson then say "well maybe we shouldn't have". Endorse candidates without so much as proper interviews. Yep. No bias there (/sarcasm).

B said...

That's why the BLoomington paper videoed their interviews with the candidates for the endorsement process and put the videos online. (you have to be a newspaper subscriber to get their website- or pay a fee-- sorry most of you won't be able to see).

The Star ought to consider that next time now that they've been busted.

Anonymous said...

Brown has an awaking ahead of him in Warren. He isn't campaigning, he has no yard signs except the ones which are posted all over stating that "Vernon Brown raised your taxes 65%".
The residents of Warren are upset and we are talking. We will be voting. Longworth has a good chance of upsetting Brown.
The Star's endorsement isn't always a factor. In the present political climate all challengers have a chance. Longworths is better than most.

Sir Hailstone said...

"The Star's editors claim she hurt the city by voting against the police merger and causing the ouster of Steve Talley as council president in favor of Monroe Gray. Excuse me, but Talley only became council president in the first instance because Franklin joined a rump group of Democrats and Republicans and elected Talley president."

Their history is a bit off too. Yes Franklin joined the "rump group" to ouster ROZELLE BOYD as Council President. Talley was elected, did the sleight of hand to get the police merger passed, and was rewarded with the "Executive Assistant to the Public Safety Director" - a $70,000 per year job. Talley resigned from the Council and was replaced at that point by Monroe Gray. So if anyone it was THE MAYOR who brought us Gray, by giving the make-work job to Talley.

Anonymous said...

8:09- you make no sense. What difference does it make if Scott turns D? None. All 29 councillors vote for President. In theory, you could have a Democrat majority and a Republican President. Scott doesn't need to switch sides, and if he were going to switch, wouldn't he have switched to avoid running against Mahern?

Anonymous said...

It seems as if Sir Hailstone is making some anti-gay comments about Ron Gibson on his blog...

Gary, how do you feel about that?

Advance Indiana said...

anon 9:20 (aka, Wilson), Then stop reading Sir Hailstone's blog if you don't like what he has to say. If you think I'm going to censor him on my blog just because I disagree with him on some issues, you would be mistaken. I've also seen plenty of anti-Ron posts on that same score at the blogs you consider "friendly."

Anonymous said...

While I typically find that RiShawn Biddle provides in interesting voice of reason, his comments today may illustrate one of the problems with their "editorial board."

he states in his expresso comments on the endorsements that Vernon Brown is running unopposed. If he doesn't know that Vern has an opponent or can't recall it when writing this opinion piece, what are they thinking when they come up with these things?

Anonymous said...

9:19,
Keller could have switched parties and ran as a Democrat but you fail to take into account the fact that Keller would never have been slated to run by the Marion Democratic Party. You think the Dems would slate Keller over a Mahern?
Keller works better as a Republican in name only for Peterson.
I seriously doubt that Keller will be re-elected given the wave of dissent against him in his district.

Anonymous said...

anon 8;04..the answer is in demographics....Brown's district is overwhelmingly Dem while Dane Mahern's is 50-50.......simple numbers

Anonymous said...

huboagOnce again Sir Hailstone has his facts wrong. Talley resigned after Gray was elected president. He did not resign to let Gray be president and Dane Mahern cast the tie breaking vote that allowed Gray to defeat Talley for president.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wilson46201 said...

Fabricating again, Gary? You know damn well that 920am comment did NOT come from me - check the IP addresses!

Anonymous said...

anon 10:18, if you look at the primary numbers brown's district broke basically 50:50 and that was before everyone started paying attention.

what makes you say brown's is "overwhelmingly" dem? there has always been a rep base in warren. maybe it's coming alive.+

Anonymous said...

wilson, so what if you took your beloved IndyGo to the library and posted from a different ip address. people in these parts know you when they see you on here.

Sir Hailstone said...

The Anonymous Coward sez:

"He did not resign to let Gray be president"

Steve Talley resigned when he was rewarded with a job in the Public Safety Director's office, for doing the sleight of hand to get the police consolidation through the Council. The fact Gray became Council President was a sideshow to that.

Monwoe Gway been a circus sideshow ever since.

Anonymous said...

anon 1:27 Vernon Brown won the last time with 62% of the vote...

Melyssa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Adam Longworth said...

I appreciate your comments Gary and regret that we have not been introduced in person (at least not that I can recall). This election has been one heck of a stress maker, but I wouldn't want it any other way. I still have yet to speak to any people in my district who are happy with the direction the city is taking, and I can only hope that transalates at the polls. As it stands, whether or not I win, I hope at least to have brought awareness of how important these municipal elections are to those who live and work here. To all those who have helped me and given me words of encouragement--I thank you.

Adam Longworth

Anonymous said...

"anon 1:27 Vernon Brown won the last time with 62% of the vote..."

Brown was unopposed the last time

Anonymous said...

to mr. longworth:

if you read version 1 of RiShawn Biddle (start editorial board members) rant against criticism of their endorsements, he wasn't even clear that Brown had an opponent.

keep working. it sounds like things are lining up for an upset it your district.