Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ballard Folks Not Reaching Out To Everyone On Straub's Appointment

I'm a big believer in the Second Amendment, but it isn't an issue I wear on my sleeve. Others who feel more strongly about the fundamental right of our citizens to bear arms have been contacting me to express their concern over Mayor Greg Ballard's new Public Safety Director appointment, Frank Straub. Gun owners are alarmed that Ballard has chosen someone with a history of supporting further government regulation of guns. In particular, they point to Straub's support a few years ago in congressional testimony for the federal law banning certain assault weapons. "My own personal perspective is we have way too many guns on the street and way too many people who own guns," Straub told the Star during a recent interview. He complained about the lack of a clear national policy dealing with guns. "The policy has to start at the federal level and then work its way down to the states and to the local level," he said. "Until we control the flow of guns between the states . . . you have a problem."

The Ballard administration seems more concerned about how Straub is perceived among the African-American community than the perception of him among a core constituency of the Republican Party. Ballard made Straub's announcement at Martin University. The first group of people with whom Straub met was a group of 25 black ministers. I suppose that's the same group that's always pimping for your tax dollars to fund their useless "crime-fighting" initiatives. His first interview was with race-baiting radio talk show host Amos Brown. Brown earlier questioned Straub's ability to serve as our city's Public Safety Director because he came from a lily-white suburban city. White Plains, New York, the city where Straub has served in a similar capacity, is actually as diverse of a population as Indianapolis. In his most recent column, Brown has already decided that the native New Yorker is likely doomed to failure. "Past performances by outsiders is the expected ill-omen for the new Public Safety Director Dr. Frank Straub, the first out-of-towner to head this critical agency," Brown writes in his latest column in the Indianapolis Recorder.

Gun rights activists are angered that Ballard seems to care less what they think about his new appointment than what the black community thinks of him. I'm also hearing that Sheriff Frank Anderson has complained to some folks that he was not consulted on the appointment, which a city ordinance apparently makes some mention as a requirement. Gun rights activists have sent numerous e-mails to Ballard's office. A staffer for Ballard, not the Mayor himself, sent e-mails responding to the concern of gun rights activists. The e-mail claimed Straub supports an individual's right to own firearms. "As Public Safety Director, his focus will be to regulate and monitor illegal gun ownership to ensure the safety of our communities," the e-mail reads. That's not good enough for some gun rights activists. I'm told that some activists may appear at the City-County Council committee hearing on Straub's appointment to express their dissatisfaction with his appointment, not that Mayor Ballard will care what they think.

I'm not really concerned that Straub will have any success with his big government ideas about gun regulation. I do think that Straub's views are completely in line with Ballard's current thinking on the issue based upon some of his public statements. Those views are completely at odds with candidate Ballard's views in 2007, but that's the case with most issues. Ballard believes that if he does everything the insider elites tell him to do that he will easily win re-election. I've got news for Ballard. Those folks are laughing behind your back about how they are able to manipulate you like a puppet. When 2011 rolls around, they have no intention of supporting you, even if they are contributing money to your campaign committee.


Paul K. Ogden said...

Excellent post. Make no mistake about it, the Ballard administration could not be more hostile to gunowners. He's had plenty of chances to support gun rights and has at every opportunity came out against them.

Even if you just examine the politics of the issue, it shows me that the Ballard administration has no clue regarding the power of the gun issue within the Republican Party. Gun activists are terrific voters and they will vote their issue over anything else.

I wonder what's next - is Ballard going to take on pro-life activists next? He seems to be trying to alienate every Republican group there is.

Sean Shepard said...

Supporters of the right to bear arms need to rephrase their advocacy of the issue to the natural right "...to defend oneself."

You have a right to defend yourself and your property and should not be restricted from arming yourself appropriately for the task.

This is not a right that government grants, it is one that you have naturally as a sentient being.

Indy4U2C said...

The job of Public Safety Director needs to be eliminated! -It's just an unnecessary layer of government that costs way too much.

Indy4U2C said...

...and I'm a Life Member of the NRA! -I wonder if Straub is a fit for our community values?

Anonymous said...

Ballard said he wanted New York City style gun control here in Indy. That means no carrying of handguns, permit or not. No "assault" weapons. You combine Ballard, Straub with a possible anti-gun prosecutor in David Orentlicher, and my guess is these three would rather have law abiding citizens disarmed than putting criminals in jail.

Paul K. Ogden said...


Carl Brizzi is as hositle to gun rights as D.O. would be. Brizzi carries on a long tradition of Republican prosecutors here not supporting gun rights - Goldsmith, Newman and now Brizzi.

Had Enough Indy? said...

I'm willing to give Straub a chance. I did like Renner, also. But, there is the outstanding issue of whether or not IMPD and the Sheriff's Department have a culture of corruption. We still haven't heard the final word on the scrap yard issue. And, before that it was one bad cop after another.

So, short story, an outsider may be exactly what this community needs; so we can come to believe that all the bad apples have been appropriately identified and dealt with.

Paul K. Ogden said...


I agree with the need for an outsider. There is a troubling climate both in IMPD and in the Sheriff's Department.

Anonymous said...

There is a troubling climate both in IMPD and in the Sheriff's Department.

The citizens have only themselves to blame. We have way too many good, honest citizens who flat out refuse to ever think about a job in police work.

Example: A very nice suburban department had a hiring process. Their pay goes up to the mid-$50K after six or seven years. There is over-time and the ability to work off-duty as well. If you live in the county, you get a company car worth at least $3,000 even if you only drive it to and from work. So after seven years, you are making roughly $60K/year, and this isn't some poor urban area either. However, even with that, in this economy, only about 200 applied and around 150 showed up on the first day of testing. 150 people in a metro area of over 1,000,000 people. There were even people from outside the metro area, even out-of-state.

While citizens can sit back and complain year after year to their politicians, citizens get the police department they allow. As more and more people tell their kids to avoid law enforcement, refuse to think about it as a career, that leaves a very small % of individuals to hire from. Obviously we aren't getting the best of the best in the applicant pool. I for one am happy with what we have. I don't think we have that many issues, considering IMPD is a 1,300ish officer department.