Saturday, August 14, 2010

Shabazz Appointment Bringing More Negative Media Attention To Ballard Administration

The bone-headed decision of Mayor Greg Ballard and Public Safety Director Frank Straub to appoint controversial radio talk show host Abdul Hakim Shabazz to a newly-created Public Safety Board earns more bad press for the Ballard administration. This weekend's "Beyond The Ballot" column (formerly known as "Behind Closed Doors") in the Star discusses the appointment and Democrats' reaction to it:

The city's newly formed public safety advisory committee already is raising some political eyebrows.

Public safety leaders from the city's Republican administration announced the group on Wednesday. Shortly thereafter, local Democrats began questioning why two Republican City-County Council members were in the group but council Democrats, were not represented.

They also criticized the choice to appoint Abdul Hakim-Shabazz--not because he's a media personality, who tends to support Republican viewpoints, but because he still has residency in Illinois, not Marion County.

"The whole thing is bothersome," said Joanne Sanders, the council's Democratic minority leader. "I want to be as supportive as possible of Public Safety Director Straub, but this flies in the face of my support when my caucus is ignored and we're appointing people who don't claim residency in Marion County."

The residency issue is particularly bothersome, Sanders said, because city code stipulates that some public safety boards, such as the merit board, have members who reside in the county.

Straub said the advisory group is not a board with binding authority, but an informal kitchen cabinet. He said he chose the members, not on the basis of politics or residency, but to get a diverse swath of the community to provide him with advice and challenge him on issues . . .

"This is me getting together with friends to get advice," Straub said. "In an effort to be tranparent and show the public that we understand there needs to be other people giving advice and counsel, we announced who this group was--that's what this is all about."

For unrelated reasons, Shabazz, who has lived here since 2004 but doesn't own a house, said he likely will establish Indiana residency in the next year. But he didn't take the criticism to heart.

"It would be a legitimate concern if I had just fallen off a turnip truck and had no clue," he said. "But I understand the city better than most of them do, so I don't feel so bad."
Cocky and arrogant as usual, Shabazz continues to inflict more damage on Ballard every time he opens his mouth. The Star, like most of the mainstream media, tend to forget Shabazz' role in running the IndyUndercover blog during the last mayoral election under the alias Sgt. Joe Friday. IMPD initiated an investigation into the blog after it leaked the identity of a confidential police informant in an arson case, and in doing so, placed a pregnant woman's life in danger.

I think Straub hit the nail on the head when he said why people like Shabazz were appointed to the advisory board. They are "friends." He's not looking for advice from ordinary citizens who have been the victims of crimes or police misconduct. The Ballard campaign committee has no doubt promised both Shabazz and Amos Brown, another appointee, it will buy political ads for airing during their respective daily talk shows. Councilors Angel Rivera and Ben Hunter, who also serve on the board, are in Mayor Ballard's back pocket. Rivera works for a minority contractor that's always looking for government contracts. Melissa Proffitt Reese's law firm, Ice Miller, does legal work for the City, and she's traveled on overseas junkets with Ballard in the past. The other appointees to the board are typical obligatory pandering to racial and ethnic groups. It's a total farce and just another reason we must do everything we can to toss Ballard out on his ass in next year's election.


Paul K. Ogden said...

Of course, by any logical interpretation of residency case law decisions, Abdul is clearly a resident of Indiana, not Illinois. I don't know what he thinks he's going to do differently in order to "establish" Indiana residency. His living here has already done that.

Paul K. Ogden said...

"I think Straub hit the nail on the head when he said why people like Shabazz were appointed to the advisory board. They are "friends." He's not looking for advice from ordinary citizens who have been the victims of crimes or police misconduct. "

Bingo. I can't believe he all but admitted that in his comments.

indyernie said...

Gary you are wrong about Ballard and Hunter. Ben Hunter is his own man and he has bucked the Ballard Administration on more than one occasion. Ben just isn't one to publicly expose displeasure with his own party.
The folks in Hunter’s district both D's and R's support him and know that they can count on his help. Ben Hunter represents his district even to the point of bucking the current administration.

Jon said...

It doesn't matter who Ballard appoints to cover his butt he has proven himself to be the personification of the Peter Principle; he has risen to his level of incompetence. The Democrats can ran a dog catcher and beat Ballard in the next election.

Anonymous said...

"It's a total farce and just another reason we must do everything we can to toss Ballard out on his ass in next year's election."

Don't you mean another reason why folks must do everything they can to move out of Marion County? Like any republican or democrat will be any different? Indy politics has always been about the politically connected class stealing from others. It didn't bother most folks because decades ago, plenty of residents were able to get decent paying union factory jobs. I sense a lot more anger over the ever rising costs to live in Indy/Marion County: Taxes continue to go up, various fees assessed, etc..

The time to flee the socialist, big government cesspool of Marion County is now!!

Marycatherine Barton said...

Spookup is right. The only thing that would cause me to recommend that anyone move even to Indiana, much less Indianapolis, is if Indiana would break the Fed's stranglehold on the economy, and found/start a state bank. That is why North Dakota is the ONLY state in the US running a surplus.

Check ouf Ellen Brown's "Web of Debt" blog re the names of candidates in our country who are promoting this solution to the states' and cities' economic woes. Regretfully, none of them are in Marion County. we desperately need one!!

Downtown Indy said...

North Dakota... Hmmm, how many pro sports teams and big stadiums do they have for them?

I just can't seem to think of a single one.

Sean Shepard said...

Abdul is "controversial" ??

At the end of the day, this is not much different that what happens in any organizational environment.

Remember, an "expert consultant" is anybody from more than 50 miles away. I suppose it's possible that (a) Abdul's connections in the city and (b) knowledge of or experience from Illinois might be considered an asset.

I don't see what the big deal is.

There is so much negatively and rock throwing going around Indiana political blogs these days ... it starts to wear thin after a while.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Yes, Sean, he is controversial. What he did during the IndyUndercover episode and all of the lying he did to try to cover up his role makes him controversial. And frankly, Sean, he confirmed what type of Muslim he is to me when he posted on the Internet his regrets that I recovered from my illness earlier this year. If he didn't give free air time to Libertarians like you, Sean, you probably wouldn't like hm either.

Sean Shepard said...

Abdul is no more controversial than Garrison or Amos. And relative to Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh doesn't even twinge the controversial meter.

As for "what kind of Muslim" ... what does THAT have to do with anything? Why not just what kind of "person". "Muslim" is included in that statement as an intended pejorative I assume?

Also, make no mistake, I disagree with Abdul on lots of things. He frequently gives far too much deference to the state and the machinery of government. But, I disagree with Amos (a lot) and Garrison on lots of things too and like them both just fine as well.

But, then again, I don't assume that everybody in any kind of position of power or influence is bought off, dishonest or incompetent just because I disagree with them or have failed to reach the same insider status.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Re the above two comments, POW! Now, I am no longer sorry that Sean Shepard was not elected to represent me in Congress. I hope you never have to suffer any near as much as you did from the blood clots in your lungs, dear Gary, and am so happy that you recovered.

Sean Shepard said...

Just keep in mind that from my perspective, it's like being in grade school when you have two friends who don't like each other but you like them each just fine. They sling insults and arrows back and forth and then you get in trouble for not taking a side in their little grudge match.

I am sorry I did not "freak out" or use as an excuse to further personalize political events over a resident of Illinois, who arguably is a resident of Indiana, being appointed to a board when the car he owns is potentially registered in the wrong place (when I don't believe they should have to be registered or [excise] taxed to begin with).

I told somebody before I posted that no matter how even-handed my comment, if I did not join the "Abdul haters club" I was sure to get shot ... and I did. ;-)

I am frequently promotive and supportive of AI and the information/reporting that is available as a result of its existence. For the record, I don't care where Gary registers his car or what mean or inappropriate things he wants to say about Abdul either (and to be fair, to his credit, I don't specifically recall any).

Gary R. Welsh said...

I suppose you also forgot, Sean, that Abdul openly advocated just a few weeks ago for police beatings of suspects. As Abdul wrote, "This is going to sound really bad, and maybe it’s just the anger talking, but as far as I’m concerned after Saturday night, if an officer has to use excessive force to keep young people like the ones who did the shooting under control then so be it. That is not my problem and I frankly don’t care." Yeah, sounds like the kind of person we want giving advice to our police. That's all we need are a few more costly lawsuits against the city.