Friday, January 11, 2008

Since When Is Keeping A Campaign Promise A Mistake?

Star political columnist Matt Tully opines today that Mayor Greg Ballard may be making a big mistake by having a showdown with Sheriff Frank Anderson over control of the police department so soon in his administration. As you will recall, Ballard made returning control of the police department back to the mayor's office a central issue in his campaign. Tully writes:

Anderson has dug in, just as he did when former Mayor Bart Peterson first pushed his police merger idea. Anderson ended up winning that Cold War and walking away with control of the Police Department.

Sounding tough, like the retired Marine he is, Ballard says that won't happen again.
"It's just a public safety issue," he said. "That's it."

Ballard reiterated the argument he's made for months: Police, fire and other public safety operations should be "under one roof." That should be his roof, he insisted, because "people elect a mayor for public safety."

They elected Anderson for the same reason, of course.

Just 10 days into Ballard's term, he's in a showdown with the sheriff. It's a battle Ballard should win, thanks to a friendly City-County Council.

But he might have made a mistake by picking such a big fight with such a big political figure so soon. Even if he wins, this showdown is going to cost the new mayor plenty of his political capital.

This has to be the worst political analysis Tully has offered to date in his column. If Ballard did anything short of fulfilling this campaign promise, he would be toast before his administration even got its feet wet. I'm reminded of an old saying attributed to former President Franklin Roosevelt, "Sound policy is sound politics." Turning over control of the police department to the sheriff's office was one of the worst mistakes Bart Peterson made a mayor. Ballard is simply undoing that mistake.


Anonymous said...

Anderson had no problem taking control of IMPD WITHOUT a public vote. Now he wants a vote to give the control back the mayor where it should be? What a blatant misrepresentation of claiming to be for the people, but really being for himself. The house cleaning started in November 2007 and will continue in 2008.

Anonymous said...

Frank Anderson has no political capital as the perception of him is he is self-serving. Anything to skewer the mayor is now the dems goal. We are sick of it-give it up, Anderson and so what is right.

Anonymous said...

"This has to be the worst political analysis Tully has offered to date in his column."

And you expected better from the worst political reporter in the history of print journalism?

Wilson46201 said...

Lest it be forgotten: since time immemorial, about half of Marion County "policing" was under the County Sheriff. Even after Unigov, Lugar, Hudnut, Goldsmith and the mostly GOP-voting citizens in the doughnut were content to let the Sheriff handle the policing in the doughnut. They were also content to let city taxpayers pay partially for county policing while the county folk didnt have to pay a penny for the Indpls Police Dept.

Now that there's finally a consolidated and unitary police department, why is it suddenly imperative that it all be under the Mayor? Voters and taxpayers have more direct control with an elected Sheriff running policing...

Anonymous said...

Keeping his promise was the right thing to do.
Remember when Peterson said ....
Peterson Plan II, pg. 49
Mayor Peterson will work with Sheriff Frank Anderson to establish an even closer
partnership between IPD and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department; however, the
Mayor is not in favor of consolidating the two departments. The Mayor will work with
Sheriff Anderson to improve communication between the two departments through regular
meetings between senior leadership of IPD and the Sheriff’s Department. The enhanced
collaboration will create efficiencies that will allow the city and county to stretch scarce
public safety resources to their full potential.

At least Ballard is keeping his promise!

Anonymous said...

After Ballard wins and beats down Anderson over this issue, he will have spent some political capital to do so, but will have gained more back by winning.

You invest capital to make more capital, Matt!! D'uh!

Anonymous said...

Wilson, you conveniently forget or ignore, that the ratios you cite are for geographic area, NOT police personnel numbers in Marion County.

The original UniGov power-grabbers went as far as the 1960s mindset would allow: they ignored schools, as well as police and fire. Times have changed.

Be that as it may, whether I favor or oppose the Mayor controlling IMPD, in a phrase that ought to be familiar to you:

He has the juice to do it.

He didn't hide this promise--and although I didn't vote for him, I knew, if he won, that this would be done. I neve rin a million years thoguht eh'd win, or that he'd get control of the council. But it happened.

His proposal isn't stupid. It makes a moderate amount of sense. To me, it's a 50-50- thing, but it looks like he'll get control of IMPD rather soon. What's the big deal?

Anderson is only sheriff for awhile longer. In my book, he's been a good sheriff. But he's burning a lot of credibility on this issue, and the voters have moved on. Big time.

The real loser here will be Frank Anderson, if he keeps up this insane whining. Most of the public is 50-50 on this too...ask around. Trying to hold onto power that has slipped through your fingers, is not a pretty sight. Ask Monroe Gray. (by the way, where WAS he at the first council meeting fo the year?)

Pay no attention to Tully. No once else does. I'm surprised he isn't off on vacation again. He's got a good gig over there. I'd take it in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

having the police department under a sheriff is all about politics....never about fighting crime or potecting the public...when a job such as sheriff for marion cty pays as much as it does it breeds oorruption. decisions are always based on the need for reelection or making sure that the one you want elected next is in good standing with donors.

Anonymous said...

I've never felt particularly safe with an elected sheriff in charge of a police department, especially as a person in the "semi-public" realm (small-business owner or employee of non-profit organization in the public eye).

That was more true under the previous "sheriff of Nottingham", but each of the last three has been corrupted by the money involved in the job.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, please return to your bloviating about the use of capital letters in modern typography. It made more sense and was MUCH MORE INTERESING.

Anonymous said...

2:09--right on.

(Ducking now, for the "anonymous nobodies" slam which is sure to come)

But--right freaking ON anyway.

Anonymous said...

Matt Tulley, Brian Howey, and other so-called political intelligencia might have been forgiven, opining such blather as this, on November 5th. The paradigms, among many, were that a well-financed incumbent in (insert political office) was invulnerable. And, up until that day, they would have been right. You go with what you know, based upon historical trends, etc.

But for him to bloviate this now, is to make him look even more foolish. Actually, I'd say it looks like a snide, subtle attack on Ballard. Apparently Tulleys' inability or refusal to come to grips with a Republican mayor lets him resort to this tripe.

Anonymous said...

Funny? When Bob Turner said that consolidation under the Sheriff was a mistake he got no support and was targeted by Bart Peterson, Frank Anderson and all of the corrupt political hangers-on!
Now that the battle is won, everybody is now brave enough to say the same thing. We have so many brave new leaders willing to support the ideal of keeping the public safety under the mayor. Where were you all when the bullets were flying? Paper Tigers!

Anonymous said...

"This has to be the worst political analysis Tully has offered to date in his column."

Your comment above is right on target.

Every first year Political Science Student knows, if an Elected Official is going to make big changes, it should be done soon after you take office. Matt Tully, you might want to consider taking a Political Science class.

Anonymous said...

After Ballard gets control of IMPD, will he also be able to take back into city government finances the HUGE amounts of money that the sheriff collects?

Or will that take legislative action?