Sunday, November 11, 2007

Winners And Losers

The Star's Brendan O'Shaughnessy has a story on the winners and losers from Tuesday's election results. Here are some highlights of what folks told O'Shaughnessy:

  • City-County Councilman Robert Lutz, a Republican, said Ballard isn't "beholden to anyone or to any law firm that lined his pocket" in the campaign. "He's an independent guy," Lutz said. "I don't know what he's going to do. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if he made some decisions that won't make the powers that be happy, on either side of the aisle."
  • Marion County Republican Party Chairman Tom John, who helped Ballard win despite being outspent 30-to-1, should see his star rise. "I think Tom John's credibility and stature and political capital just rose substantially," said Republican Councilman Lance Langsford, who did not run for re-election.
  • Outside City Hall, a fairly immediate effect is expected on the city's legal profession. Normally, the big firms hedge their bets by throwing money at both sides in a close race.
    But because few believed Peterson would lose, Barnes & Thornburg was the only law firm whose partners held a fundraiser for Ballard. Joe Loftus, a partner at the firm and a member of Ballard's transition team, said new administrations can bring sweeping change.
    "As a typical transition practice, all of the outside contracts will receive a high level of scrutiny," Loftus said. "It's reasonable to assume the new administration will re-prioritize and may decide the same amount of contracts is not necessary."
  • Barnes & Thornburg's rivals, which have received bond work and lobbying contracts from the Peterson administration, were Peterson's biggest donors in this campaign. They include Ice Miller, Baker & Daniels, Bingham McHale, Krieg DeVault and Bose McKinney & Evans. Not that Ballard is shutting those firms out.
  • Melissa Proffitt Reese, an Ice Miller partner in the lucrative bond business, was named to Ballard's transition team. Lacy Johnson, another partner at Ice Miller, who has strong connections to Peterson and black Democrats, did not want to speculate on what Ballard would do about the firm's contracts with the city. On the other hand, Johnson also serves as president of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, a volunteer position appointed by the mayor. On that question, Johnson was more clear. "My term ends in January 2008," he said. "I expect he would appoint someone of his own choosing."

Some people have criticized me for taking issue with some of the appointees to Ballard's transition team, particularly because it has too many lawyer/lobbyist types with a vested interest in city contracts. O'Shaughnessy focuses right in on that aspect as you can see. He notes that only Barnes & Thornburg helped raise money for Ballard's campaign. That begs the question why Ice Miller has such a prominent role on Ballard's transition team. It, along with Baker & Daniels, raised a large percentage of Peterson's campaign dollars between their attorneys and their respective firm's clients.

People have had very strong feelings about Tom John in this election. Regardless of what you think about John, he is a vast improvement over Mike Murphy. He seems to understand the party can't be pushing the agenda of the religious right and expect to win in a changing, metropolitan city like Indianapolis. That was very apparent from the obviously moderating views of some of the newer council candidates in this year's election.

John's biggest criticism this year comes from his decision to support Kent Smith as an at-large candidate to the exclusion of the other three at-large candidates. He told me on election night he believed his strategy worked because Smith led the at-large candidates, ahead of Barbara Malone and Ed Coleman, and the party won three out of the four. I'm not sure Malone, Coleman or the only losing candidate, Michael Hegg, would agree with John. I would note that Ballard received more votes than any of the at-large candidates, which answers Jim Shella's insulting question before the election as to which of the two candidates would carry the other on his coattails.

Historically, the at-large candidates have always gone to the winning mayoral candidate's party. This is the first year there was any split, although clearly most went to the winning mayoral candidate's party this year, confirming the conventional wisdom. The split may have as much to do with the fact that this is the first really close mayoral election we have had under Uni-Gov, with less than 6,000 votes separating Ballard and Peterson. I still would argue that Republicans would have won all four of these races had the party simply pushed the at-large candidates and Ballard as a team, and not just Ballard and Smith. Further, if Ballard had received more party support from the beginning, in particular the state party, Ballard could have afforded a media buy to better inform voters on who he was and what he was about prior to the election.

O'Shaughnessy notes some big appointments coming up early in the Ballard administration. These include:

  • Capital Improvement Board, Fred Glass, Jan. 14.
  • Indianapolis Airport Authority, Lacy Johnson, Jan. 30.
  • Metropolitan Development Commission, Brian Murphy, Dec. 31.
  • Board of Public Works, Kumar Menon. Term is indefinite.

I can't emphasize how important these appointees are. Under prior mayors, both Republican and Democrat, these positions have been pretty much the exclusive purview of members of a ruling elite. These boards and commissions exercise tremendous power in our city. Who Ballard chooses to sit on these boards and commissions will tell us much about whether he will become a truly independent mayor or become beholden to the establishment which has been running the city to their own benefit to the detriment of the public at large.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are, again, correct. Each of the four you listed at the end of your post need to go--yesterday.

Murphy is particularly infuriating. Not as bad as Eunice Trotter was, but bad. And Fred Glass is a nice man, but he negotiates horribly. They don't teach negotiating technique in law school, do they?

Now, here's the rub. Who replaces Murphy at MDC? If anyone says Jon Bales run for the border.

And here's a gentle nudge for the director of DMD, Maury Plaumbach. He's basically non-partisan. He's professional, and insists his staff be the same. He's cringed at all of Judy Conly's decisions. He's one of us, too, and there are too few of us in city administration.

Oh yeah, didn't you get the memo? Before any of us dies we have to check in with Ice Milller. If's in the City Charter.

Wilson46201 said...

I think Gary would say that Ice Miller gets St. Peter's rejects...

Anonymous said...

If Ballard can moderate and keep the right wing crazies who dominate the GOP in Marion County out of his administration, then he might have a successful term. Unfortunately several of those are on his transition team.

Advance Indiana said...

anon 10:10, who do you think is a right wing crazy on the list? Clearly, Ike Randolph completely alienated himself from the gay community because of his flip-flop on the HRO. I think he later came to regret that vote based upon personal conversations I subsequently had with him, but he still carries the stigma. Darla embraces Sherron Franklin, who has been one of the most anti-gay bigots on the council. Darla is an opportunist more than anything. Remember, she was a Peterson supporter and a Democrat until very recently when she had a falling out with those folks. Beyond that, I wouldn't categorize any of the rest of the members of the transition team as right wing crazies. Political insiders, yes. Right wing crazies, no.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ just a bit re: John's council strategy, from personal experience.

As a strong D voter from Meridian Kessler, I voted for the J. Sanders and 3 R's- Our neighbors know Joanne Sanders, trust her, and know she was not part of the Monroe Gray faction "problem" on the council. There is no way I would not have voted for Joanne and voted for all 4 R's. So I voted for 3 R's... as to which 3, it was totally based on random events. I didn't really care which 3, I just knew I would go for 3... so here's what I did: Smith, because I had seen his face and name w. the campaign push (the only one); Malone because I'd met her at an event once and she seemed ok, Hegg because he made a diplomatic comment on this blog last week. (Sorry for him it didn't work out.) I think there were plenty of D-leaners who took the same approach- 3 R's to change the balance and get rid of Gray's leadership, but stuck with Sanders. No hard evidence for this, other than 2 other people who said they'd done the same thing.

Advance Indiana said...

Some are claiming Sanders cut a deal with the unions to bullet vote her at the expense of the other Ds. I'm not buying that theory. Sanders got more votes because she was the least offensive of the four Democrats. The spoiler in this election may have been the Libertarians. The Maguire candidates each drew over 12,000 votes, although the funny thing is that Allison drew more votes than Timothy and all the commercials were for Timothy alone. The Maguires votes came largely from the tax protest movement. That should give you an indication of the size of their numbers--well more than enough to tip the balance in the mayor's race.

Anonymous said...

I would put Tom John in the right wing crazy role as well as Senator J. Merritt....


Anon 12:30 I agree with your analysis on the at large..I am a Democrat but I voted for Joanne Sanders and 3 republicans {I cant remember which three} but Conley, Gibson and Boyd were Gray cronies so I wanted them gone.

Anonymous said...

Joanne cut no deals.

She consistently leads the at-large Ds.

Besides, the unions couldn't pull it off it they wanted to.

They're only slightly more adroit these days than the black precincts.

Joanne was diplomatic, but by body language and nearly every other measureable trait, she abhored Monroe's leadership. She's have been president if Monroe, King Ro, Duke and Ron G. hadn't demanded a black president. And Sherron's vote was never certain--for anything. She's just that nuts.

Gone are the elections where we vote for persons just because of their race. Maybe the Center Ds will finally get that, what with two black Republicans now councillors-at-large.

I heard yesterday that Monroe was actually trolling for votes to be minority leader. What a hoot. Maybe he really is as dumb as he acts.

Anonymous said...

"Some people have criticized me for taking issue with some of the appointees to Ballard's transition team, particularly because it has too many lawyer/lobbyist types with a vested interest in city contracts. O'Shaughnessy focuses right in on that aspect as you can see. He notes that only Barnes & Thornburg helped raise money for Ballard's campaign. That begs the question why Ice Miller has such a prominent role on Ballard's transition team. It, along with Baker & Daniels, raised a large percentage of Peterson's campaign dollars between their attorneys and their respective firm's clients."

Perhaps it's because, just as you hoped, Mr. Ballard is not making decisions based on who contributed to his campaign. Perhaps, just as you hoped, he's making decisions based on the best interests of the city. Perhaps he's doing exactly what he promised to do.

Gary, et al., you got what you wanted in this man. Have some faith in him.

Advance Indiana said...

"Perhaps it's because, just as you hoped, Mr. Ballard is not making decisions based on who contributed to his campaign. Perhaps, just as you hoped, he's making decisions based on the best interests of the city. Perhaps he's doing exactly what he promised to do."

And as far as you are concerned, that means only appointing people who didn't believe in him because all of those who believed in him were just a bunch of nutter-balls who aren't fit to run city government. Right?

Anonymous said...

Gary,
Tom John was NOT an asset to Ballard.
John should have been organizing big money fund raisers for Ballard, and didn't!
Tom John should have supported Ballard in all aspects of the race, and didn't The ONLY candidate that was supported by the GOP, was Kent Smith. The rest were thrown to the wolves and had to fight for scraps. That showed in the areas where the corruption was the worst. Gray and Brown should have lost bnig , but Tom John had too much to lose! He would have been on cloud 9 if all the Dems would have won and Peterson would have taken 60% of the vote!
Tom John is a disgrace to the GOP and Ballard should dump him back in East Chicago as sson as possible.

Anonymous said...

No, Gary, that's not right and not what I meant. He has 2,000 appointments to make. He's been the Mayor-elect for less than a week. I'm sure, in due course, the people who believed in him and took the risk of supporting him will be amply rewarded. But you are taking after him with so little data, so little time, and so few decisions which to judge that you are, frankly, acting like a "nutter-ball" instead of a serious commentator. With friends like you, this poor man hasn't a chance. Just calm down and let him prove himself, or not.

garyj said...

Faith in Ballard is not a problem.
I don't think he'll do the taxpayers like Bart Peterson did.
Greg knows it was the PEOPLE who elected him, not the money, not the "power-players", and certainly not the GOP.
We want a change, and we will get it. If not, we will get a different mayor in 4 more years. Give him time. It took Bart Peterson 8 years to get this city in the current situation, Greg can't fix it overnight!

Wilson, maybe Ballard will hire you to do some interior decorating at HIS office on the 25th floor.

Wilson46201 said...

Appointing me to do Ballard's interior decorating would be as stupid as his appointing Darla Williams to be his liaison to the Peterson administration...

Anonymous said...

Would you do a better job as the liason?
Your fashion sense in clothing leaves a lot to be desired. I've seen pictures of you.
And I was told that Gay men are great dressers.

Anonymous said...

"Tom John should have supported Ballard in all aspects of the race, and didn't The ONLY candidate that was supported by the GOP, was Kent Smith."

The bigger part of the outrage is that Kent Smith refused to pay the slating fee like the other candidates and he's the only one who got help from the party.

Wilson46201 said...

My sense of style and fashion is matched only by Darla's finesse and diplomatic skills...

Advance Indiana said...

anon 5:08 said, "But you are taking after him with so little data, so little time, and so few decisions which to judge that you are, frankly, acting like a "nutter-ball" instead of a serious commentator. With friends like you, this poor man hasn't a chance. Just calm down and let him prove himself, or not."

My criticism is not towards the man, it is the make-up of the transition team. You've heard the term "gatekeeper" I'm sure. The palace guard has surrounded Ballard already, and I don't like what I see. These people are the same people who have been running the city for many years. We're simply playing musical chairs at the firms. They have an R behind their name instead of a D. I worked at a big law firm. I know how the game is played. I know what it means. These people will block anyone from getting any significant appointment in this administration. They will insist on someone who will be in the palm of their hands. Call me a nutterball if you like. I've been around the block a few time and I know what I speak.

Anonymous said...

I've sen a better selection of clothing at a goodwill store, Wilson.
If you're going to be the spokesman for the democratic party, Andre Carson, and the GLTB movement, you should at least dress the part.
Even Jennifer Waggoner dresses like a professional.

Anonymous said...

Some people seem to believe that in a city of 800,000 people, there only a couple of thousand people suitable to serve. There are tens of thousands of people available that could provide great service to the city who are not considered because they are not a part of the political crowd.

Anonymous said...

Let's make a deal:

Wilson--no more mention of Darla, OK? If she's as bad as you say, it'll prove itself.

Out stater said...

Seems like the most important name not yet mentioned is Bob Grand. A long term R leader, with ties to people who can make Ballard look good, Bob ought to be on several lists. He probably will be the new Fred Glass -without the fawning Indy Star stories.

Melyssa said...

Gary,
I know that Greg Ballard and Winnie read your blog. Thanks for dishing out the tough criticism on both sides of the aisle.

I, for one, love it that you do not suffer theives, liars, and hypocrites. You do a lot to keep people honest.

Unlike Jen's TDW blog, you don't turn a blind eye to problems and corruption within your own party, you expose it! Wouldn't it be nice if she did the same for the democrats?

Thanks for your hard work. I wouldn't know half of what is going on our city without your analysis. Thanks for holding tough to the Republican ideals that seem to have largely left the party.

Have faith.

Anonymous said...

Darla grew up with Sherron Franklin and is not willing to become an enemy to her simply because someone else has a problem with her.

Darla is not a political hack and will support the person, irrespective of their party and she, like the thousands of others who previously supported Peterson, withdrew her support of him and made it her mission to advise the rest of the city to do the same...fortunately they woke up too. Darla was ahead of the rest of many others in the city that weren't told the truth by the mainstream media.

So, if you criticize her for dumping Peterson then you are criticizing everyone else too, which means you are stupid and inconsistent.

Sherron was not her councilor but she would have held her accountable too if she were misbehaving the way the others were.

Gary, your venom and bias is showing and many are noticing it.

Advance Indiana said...

"So, if you criticize her for dumping Peterson then you are criticizing everyone else too, which means you are stupid and inconsistent."

Unlike the rest of us, she had a financial relationship with the Peterson administration. Her beef arose out of what became or didn't become of that financial relationship. The rest of us didn't turn on Peterson after making money off his administration. That's the difference, and it's a big one, anon 2:46.

Anonymous said...

Anon 246, I have stated it before and will state it again, you obviously have not been a target of the viscious attacks made by Darla.

If Greg and Winnie truly read this blog than let me say, beware!

A conversation? Agree to disagree? Not if you are talking to Darla.

She has a difference of opinion with Gary Welsh, but rather than address it in a civil manner she is out attacking him on other blogs. It is 1005 vintage Darla. She obviously doesn't bring it here because too many of us know her.

Her rant from Sunday has been posted on the other blog for all to see. Don't believe me? Read it for yourself. And frankly, I am offended that people on your team would call me a 'racist' but you can't control those that are clearly out of control.

Greg, I have donated money to you. I have seen you at campaign events. I have voted for you. I believe you can turn this city around, and maybe there is a place for a street fighter for Darla someplace, but it wouldn't me my choice for any PR (transition/liason) work.

You have been warned.