Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ballard Wisely Pushes Ethics Reform

GOP mayoral candidate Greg Ballard outlined an ethics reform proposal he would implement if he's elected Indianapolis mayor. "Taxpayers are being asked to pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in government spending ranging from huge construction projects to outside personal contracts. But there are virtually no rules governing the conduct of business or local government in such dealings," said Ballard. Some of the ideas Ballard is pushing include:

  • Require persons who lobby city government to register with the city and report any lobbying expenses they make, including any entertainment or item of value they provide to elected officials and public employees.
  • Bar lobbyists or other persons with a financial interest from serving on any commission or board that directly affects or deals with their lobbying or financial interests.
  • Establishing a code of conduct for city employees which bars them from soliciting contributions from individuals and firms which do business with the city.
  • Require statement of economic interests filed by public officials to be made publicly available online.
  • Require campaign finance reports be made publicly available online.

All of these proposals are good ideas which should be implemented regardless of who is elected mayor this year. The reaction of Councilor Patrice Abduallah to Star reporter Brendan O'Shaughnessy's recent question about who paid for his trip to the Super Bowl, "It's none of your business," highlights the need for this kind of disclosure. "Like most citizens, I was not shocked to learn Patrice Abduallah had accepted tickets to the Super Bowl," Ballard said. "What I did find surprising and offensive was his refusal to reveal who paid for the trip. This must change," Ballard stated. "It's time to restore ethics and public accountability to our local government. The internet gives the average citizen a chance to be a full participant in the government for which they pay; unfortunately, too few of our local government leaders are committed to using this tool to account for their behavior," said Ballard.

While I was in Florida this past week, I read an article in the Miami Herald about the police chief there accepting the free use of a Lexus automobile from an area automobile dealer. The police chief had not disclosed the gift until a local TV station reporter dug it up. The police chief wound up apologizing to the public and agreeing to purchase the automobile.

Note to Jim Shella: I've been getting press releases from the Ballard campaign at least two times a week for the past couple of months. There have been numerous press opportunities with the candidate in recent weeks. And he's been out at various public events and going door-to-door campaigning. Perhaps the appropriate question people should be asking is "Where is Jim Shella?"

UPDATE: Apparently during today's news conference, Star political reporter Matt Tully grilled Ballard, demanding that he release a list of all his contributors prior to the October filing deadline. Who do you think desparately wants to learn this information now instead of waiting until October? More importantly, why do you think those persons want to know that information now and what they intend do with it once they know it? Tully is asking Ballard to do something more than a state law applicable to all candidates requires him to do. Is he asking this same question of all candidates, or only Greg Ballard because he had the audacity to push for much-needed ethics reforms?

Let's not miss sight of what is at stake here. To suggest Ballard is somehow being hypocritical in calling for these reforms today but not doing more than the state campaign finances laws required of him in the way of reporting is simply unfair, particularly when the incumbent has over $3 million in the bank courtesy of many folks with a financial interest in Mayor Peterson's re-election. Why don't you just ask Ballard to lay down his arms and concede the battle in advance, Matt? That's essentially what you're asking him to do.


Anonymous said...

He is with Matt Tully I think

Anonymous said...

Jim is smarter asleep than Tully is awake.

And more industrious.

Hell my Labrador is more industrious than Tully.

Anonymous said...

Too bad mayor Peterson will NEVER do anything like that.
He wants to make sure that the people are in the dark and know only what he wants tells them.
Uninformed voters tend to vote for the people in charge already.
This is why the ghetto mafia wants only certain people in office because they can be controlled.

Anonymous said...

5:03 and other posters to this blog, please don't use the term "ghetto mafia" anymore. That term is blatantly racist, and unacceptable in civil discourse. If you don't agree with Julia Carson, Monroe Gray, King Ro Conley or other black politicians, point out how that person is wrong and you are right. But please stop disparaging African-American public officials by using this kind of a racist label. It only distracts from the point you are trying to make, no matter how valid it may be.

Wilson46201 said...

WRTV6's Norman Cox just wrote:

"Do the parties still hold candidate schools? If so, Greg Ballard needs to attend one. It’s not too late, of course.

The Republican candidate for mayor of Indianapolis held a news conference this morning to urge tougher ethics requirements. His printed hand-out had a quote from him criticizing former council member Patrice Abduallah for accepting a Super Bowl trip and tickets and refusing to reveal the donor. It also had a six-point program to improve ethics and openness in government.

Okay, most reporters thought. The Abduallah quote will make a good sound bite. And we can summarize the six-point plan in our stories. So what does Ballard do when he steps up to the microphone? He skips over the Abduallah stuff and reads the boring six-point plan. So much for this story.

But to make matters worse, Ballard then gets into a fight with Indianapolis Star columnist Matt Tully over his refusal to reveal how much money his campaign has raised. Ballard says it’s because he doesn’t have to do so until the October reporting deadline.

But, hey, isn’t this a news conference that HE called to urge tougher ethics standards?

So shouldn’t he be willing to do something more than the absolute MINIMUM?

Or could this have something to do with the probability that Ballard has raised so little money that revealing the amount might dry up contributions from other donors wondering about the viability of his effort to unseat Mayor Peterson?"

Anonymous said...

Wilson, there you go again.. desparately trying to change the subject from the grotesque failures of your masters.

Where is Mr Peterson's "Ethics Plan"

Oh I know, under review by the various city "officials" owner/operators of the taxpayer funded 300 club in the Julia Carson Center

Anonymous said...

Why won't Ballard practice what he preached?

How much money you got, Greg?

Anonymous said...

"Bar lobbyists or other persons with a financial interest from serving on any commission or board that directly affects or deals with their lobbying or financial interests."

Hmmm. . . would that almost wipe out the current zoning board?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Norman Cox is a bastion of expert opinion, isnt he? (Insert eyeroll here)

I think Greg Ballard should release his financial statement before he is legally obligated to do so, IF Monroe Gray, all Democrat Council members, and what the hell, all the Republican caucus are given the same level of scrutiny as Ballard is being given by some shrill, frantic posters here. Of course, every donor has to be listed above the $99 mark. I'd be REAL interested in seeing who is supporting Gray et sic ad nauseam.

Any takers?


'Thought so. Hypocrites, and desperate ones at that.

Anonymous said...

Not desperate. Not hypocritical, just amused at watching Ballard squirm when called on the FIRST question his communications person should have prepped him for.

By the way, why do they keep putting Ballard (who appears to be a, shall we say "profuse," sweat-er) in outdoors press conferences on extremely hot day. Makes him look like he's just climbed out of a vat of oil.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Democrat, but this is an excellent potential media hit by Ballard.

Too bad he got into a pissing match at the news conference with Tully. Norm stuck up for Tully. Probably mad there wasn't a buffet at the news conference.

Norm--dial in a salad once in a while, OK?

Anonymous said...

It is strange that Tully would hold Ballard to a standard he isn't requiring of Peterson. I'm sure the mayor's contributions are a lot more interesting than Ballard's.

indyernie said...

"How much money you got, Greg?"

How much money you got Wilson?

Why are you so rude as to call him Greg?

Do you call Mayor Peterson, Bart?

A man with character would address him as Mr. Ballard

Wilson that's the same crap you pulled with Eric Dickerson. If Greg Ballard wanted you to know how much money he had you would be included in his campaign meetings.

Show the man the respect that he would show you.

indyernie said...

Mr. Ballard, politely tell Tully and the rest of the birdbrains where to kiss. He has a history of backstabbing. You won't be the first or last to be burnt if you play his game. Play your own game and tell Matt to take a hike.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Nice to see the 25th floor visits here along with Wilson! Its funny how the press is always asking for somebody to run against Bart. With all the ethical problems that Bart,Monroe, Frank and the rest of the Dems have you'd think this would be a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately people like Tully and Wilson continue to stick their head in the sand and carry the torch for a political party that has done nothing but ruin this city in the last 7 years.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon and Wilson!

Call me a racist. I really don't care.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Ballard is one of the finest men I have ever met. He doesn't let lies flow trippingly from his tongue, as Bart can. So, at times he might seem, to the uneducated, to be slow to answer. Unlike Bart, he studies the situation, prior to making a rash move. I believe that is what a leader is supposed to do.

Anonymous said...

The local media should realize nobody gives a rat's a** what they think or report.

No one watches local news anymore and newspaper readership is down. Has-beens and never-will-bes like Norm Cox, Jim Shella and Tully need to realize this.

Jim Shella needs to get a new line-up on his PBS show. That tired bunch hasn't changed in 10 years. Jim, don't you realize people are tired hearing what Anne Delaney, Mike McDaniel and what's-his-face think?

Anonymous said...

12:02 a.m. said:

Jim Shella needs to get a new line-up on his PBS show. That tired bunch hasn't changed in 10 years. Jim, don't you realize people are tired hearing what Anne Delaney, Mike McDaniel and what's-his-face think?

True dat.

But Shella also represents the dinosaurs he has as "experts" on his program. All of them are old and out of touch.

Anonymous said...

"Not desperate. Not hypocritical, just amused at watching Ballard squirm when called on the FIRST question his communications person should have prepped him for.

By the way, why do they keep putting Ballard (who appears to be a, shall we say "profuse," sweat-er) in outdoors press conferences on extremely hot day. Makes him look like he's just climbed out of a vat of oil. "

Perhaps the press conferences are being held outside because thats where Mr. Ballard has been, campaigning.

Wow, just when I thought Tulley was an objective journalist, he has to type up a shrill, partisan hateful column. I was about to give him props, but instead see he really IS another Democrat, relying on style over substance to persuade an audience.

The comment "has done nothing to connect with the voters" shows his ignorance. Mr. Tulley, you're just pissed that Mr. Ballard has done nothing to connect with YOU and your media ilk. By the way, in the 2 week span you blathered about, I think Mr. Ballard spent 4-5 days, 2 hrs at a time, at the Republican booth. The rest of the time has been spent working neighbohoods county-wide. You know that though, nice character assassination attempt to your readers, tho.

I think we know who the "joke" is. It's not Greg Ballard.

Anonymous said...

Have you or anyone in the ghetto mafia serve one day in the defense of our nation? (Very few of you if any is safe to say) I served 23 years and didn't take one payoff, or accept one concrete contract, or open one bar in a per se "government building", or lie about where I lived, or drive a government vehicle when I was off duty.

The only benefit I receive is from my service is what I've earned. Your inner circle of career politicians makes me sick. Earn a living... contribute to society instead of playing people.


Anonymous said...

Wilson. Why don't you tell us all the reasons that Monroe Gray is an honorable man and worthy to be president of the CCC?

And while you are at it, please speak to us about why he would withhold evidence that Patrice Abdullah did not reside in his district? What is being done about this breach of the public's trust?

Didn't Monroe Gray write a letter stating that Patrice Abdullah should not serve on the council if he doesn't live in his district? So why on earth didn't Monroe Gray pipe up back in January and say something, Wilson?

So, Wilson please speak to the honor of the city council president.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is fair to criticize Greg Ballard about how he is running his campaign. First he's a novice and secondly he is under no obligation to do anything except follow the rule of law which he is doing! Ballard brought up ethics issues because there are politicians who are breaking the rule of law.

Ballard is compliant with the law.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Kurt Fullbeck

Ballard Calls for 3 Mayoral Debates

Proposal will give public opportunity to hear candidates' views

INDIANAPOLIS-Greg Ballard, Republican candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis, today challenged incumbent Mayor Bart Peterson to three televised debates this fall during their mayoral campaigns.

"There has been a large outcry from the public and the media in recent weeks to hear my opponent and I talk about the issues face to face," said Ballard. "I embrace any opportunity to discuss the problems facing our city and to compare our plans for Indianapolis' future."

Ballard agreed in principle earlier this week to an October debate to be televised on WISH-TV (CBS) and moderated by Reporter Jim Shella. Ballard called for two more debates to be televised on Indianapolis' two other major broadcast networks, WRTV-TV (ABC) and WTHR-TV (NBC). Ballard also called for the other two debates to utilize a panel of moderators and a town hall format respectively.

"The citizens of Indianapolis should have an opportunity to see my opponent and me in a variety of venues and formats," Ballard stated. "The goal of these debates is to give voters as much information as possible to help them determine who will best lead Indianapolis forward through these difficult times."

Ballard sent letters to the Peterson campaign, WRTV-TV, and WTHR-TV offering his proposal and discussing the opportunity to debate.

"There are many issues affecting Indianapolis and many questions as to how our government should move our great city forward," Ballard said in his letter to Mayor Peterson. "In that spirit, I would like to offer you the opportunity to formalize your commitment to providing voters the information they desire in this campaign by agreeing to three televised debates with me."