Monday, October 29, 2007

Council Finally Approves Investigation of Monroe Gray

After weeks of parliamentary maneuvering by City-County Council Democrats to block an investigation of Council President Monroe Gray's ethical problems, Democratic members relented to public pressure and adopted Proposal 182. Councilor Sherron Franklin (D) offered an amendment establishing a 4-member panel of two Democrats and two Republicans to look into allegations raised by an Indianapolis Star investigation concerning work a concrete company owned by Gray performed on city-financed public projects, which he failed to disclose on his statement of economic interest. The council approved the resolution 28-0 with Councilor Gray abstaining.

Meanwhile, an editor for the Indianapolis Star, is raising eyebrows by a blog post he made today at Expresso. RiShawn Biddle, who has been absent from the blogging scene for many months, published a post today entitled, The "Indianapolis Black Democrat Minstrel Show", which is highly critical of the city's African-American Democrats. Biddle likened Monroe Gray's tenure as the Council's President to Zip Coon, a derogatory, racial slur on black men dating to the days of slavery. The post makes some very salient points on the state of Democratic black leadership in the city right now, but most would agree the Zip Coon analogy is way over the top. The pertinent passage reads:

Then there's the embarrassing spectacle that is Monroe Gray, whose tenure as city-county council president is being marked by a lack of decorum during council sessions, the videos of himself on YouTube and responses to allegations of corruption that wouldn't be acceptable to a child who claimed his dog ate the homework. His act, more Zip Coon than honorable statesman, epitomizes the lack of seriousness some Black politicians show in their work; it's just inexcusable.

One particularly telling comment in Biddle's post today was this one about Rep. Julia Carson (D): "Last year, we had Julia Carson's mudslinging, her protestations of physical competence despite all-too-clear signs of declining health, and the spectacle that was 300 East." If there were "all-too-clear signs of [Carson's] declining health", then why pray tell did the Star's editors endorse Carson for another term in Congress? Other parts of Biddle's post are equally stinging to black Democratic leaders. Summarizing various events over the past couple of years, Biddle writes:

If I hadn't seen this with my own eyes over the past three years, I would have thought they came straight out of "Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat." I don't know any powerful Black people like that. Do I? Sadly, we do. Before our eyes stand men and women charged with serving the citizens of this city behaving badly, awfully, arrogantly, as if they didn't receive any home-training. They have been given power for which they could do plenty for the poor Black neighborhoods which they represent. But for them, their jobs offer them chances for self-enrichment, opportunities for petty foolishness and the possibilities of grandstanding on public access television so they can use their 'juice.'

Meanwhile residents in Martindale-Brightwood fear for their lives, Haughville homeowners see the aluminum siding snatched off their houses and Mapleton-Fall Creek residents watch abandoned homes burn down. Those driving around Lafayette Square hit potholes; sewers continue to overflow on the Southside. Simply put, the very services they expect government to provide fall by the wayside.

Even worse, the proverbial tap-dancing of Gray and Company is aided and abetted by folks who know better. They understand that many in this town fear the day that a Black man or woman will become mayor, scared that as soon as that happens, Indianapolis will finally be the New Detroit in all its squalor. These blatant, random acts of stupidity deserved to be called out. Those who know better, however, turn away and let the silliness go on.

Unlike the Downtown vagrants, the politicians aren't mentally ill, fighting addiction, are simply laxy or have failed to learn middle-class behavior. And unlike the performers on "I Love New York," they aren't shuckin' and jivin' for fame or fortune. It's bad enough that they don't attend to their politically-appointed tasks. They could at least live down the stereotypes, not live up to them.

Biddle should be applauded for saying what needed to be said on behalf of African-Americans. However, I worry that his stridency will get him in a lot of hot water with more than a few of the city's African-American leaders.

UPDATE: Biddle's post at Expresso has been updated to remove the comparison of Monroe Gray to Zip Coon.


Mike Bowman said...

WOW . . .

But again too little to late to make any real difference.

Anonymous said...

"However, I worry that his stridency will get him in a lot of hot water with more than a few of the city's African-American leaders."

I respectfully disagree, Gary. Those leaders need to understand that the power and authority they have are a gift in trust, by the public. What they damn well better worry about is the truth behind Biddles' words and the publics' awareness of the facts behind his opinion.

It's a funny thing, these and other Democrats viewpoint on being called out for their shenanigans. Rather than take accountability and responsibility for the negative acts, they gesticulate frantically and scream "negative campaigning' and the hoary old chestnut "racism!" Such tactics, promoted by Amos Brown are intellectually weak and actually disrespectful of the public, Black and White who cringe whenever their elected leaders act yet again for THEIR own interests rather than the publics.

The election will be a referendum on a lot of issues: public interest in stopping such chicanery, or not; for the Democrat party to learn from this and pull aside their elected officials and in the interest of continued support, cease such activities or condemn them; and finally whether or not the Republican chair and his staff deserve to keep their positions, if in fact the GOP candidates win. I would say that if the latter happens, there needs to be a house-cleaning of that party, as clearly their lack of support for Ballard, Coleman, Hegg, and Malone show that they (Tom John & crew) do NOT have the GOPs interests in mind, nor the GOP voting public.

We'll see...

Anonymous said...

Good for RiShawn. Only he could say what needed to be said. There are times in your life when you have to stand up and do the right thing. It is moral courage and I applaud Biddle's actions.

Anonymous said...


We've read all the documentation of perjury on city ethics statements, homestead mortgage exemption forms, and seen conflict of interest in the "no-bid" concrete contract at the about bribery of corrupt business influence for the wife of the city council majority leader giving him a variance to put a bar he co-owns with the airport authority board member in a government building??? How about Monroe Gray's ties to illegal gambling, as well as his appearance at drug raid on Michigan RD recently???

These are CRIMES and show corruption. This is why we elect a where is Carl Brizzi?

35-44-2-1. Perjury.
(a) A person who:
(1) Makes a false, material statement under oath or affirmation, knowing the statement to be false or not believing it to be true; or
(2) Has knowingly made two (2) or more material statements, in a proceeding before a court or grand jury, which are inconsistent to the degree that one (1) of them is necessarily false;
commits perjury, a Class D felony.

35-45-6-2. Corrupt business influence.
A person:
(1) Who has knowingly or intentionally received any proceeds directly or indirectly derived from a pattern of racketeering activity, and who uses or invests those proceeds or the proceeds derived from them to acquire an interest in property or to establish or to operate an enterprise;
(2) Who through a pattern of racketeering activity, knowingly or intentionally acquires or maintains, either directly or indirectly, an interest in or control of property or an enterprise; or
(3) Who is employed by or associated with an enterprise, and who knowingly or intentionally conducts or otherwise participates in the activities of that enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity;
commits corrupt business influence, a Class C felony.

“Racketeering activity” means to commit, to attempt to commit, to conspire to commit a violation of, or aiding and abetting in a violation of any of the following: (18) Bribery (IC 35-44-1-1).
(19) Official misconduct (IC 35-44-1-2).
(20) Conflict of interest (IC 35-44-1-3).(21) Perjury (IC 35-44-2-1).(22) Obstruction of justice (IC 35-44-3-4).
(23) Intimidation (IC 35-45-2-1).(25) Promoting professional gambling (IC 35-45-5-4).

There are civil remedies. If an attorney would take the civil case, I bet he'd find a lot of Indianapolis residents willing to join the class-action suit! Just post the attorney name.

Anonymous said...

i like sherron franklin and believe she has been a stand out among the democrats this year.

why was she directed to introduce the ammendment? because she is in trouble, perhaps insurmountable trouble next tuesday. people in lawrence may be lining up at the polls to vote against any and all democrats because of CCC issues and the actions of their own mayor. at least this allows franklin to say she was the one who took action against gray.

if there is a democrat that deserves re-election, it is she.

there is at least one other dem incumbent in serious trouble. let's see what that individual is allowed to do to reestablish their credibility.

Anonymous said...

On behalf of the local Democratic Party, I would like to thank local GOP chairman Tom John for stumping for the Gray investigation. By doing so, and forcing a unanimous vote amongst our council members (14, Gray recusing) you have taken any steam away from this issue as head towards next Tuesday. Not a single Republican challenger can use ethics or lack of as an issue now against my incumbent candidates! Brilliant, Tom John, and thanks! ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I dunno, Gary. Aaron Haith already set the bar for over the top remarks with his 'Willie Lynch' comment--but the difference here is Biddle is employed by the private sector, whereas Haith sucks at the government teat. In any event, at least Biddles' remarks were published in the MSM, and they didnt touch Haiths' comment.

*on Ruth's blog, Wilson Allen professes some hypocritical angst over the remark, yet was silent about Haith's slur towards Mr. Shabazz. Typical of him and his party, no?

Anonymous said...

Sherron Franklin is a complete babbling gum chewing idiot and has no business on the council.......she will lose on Election day and deserves to lose big.

Anonymous said...

10:22, you're dreaming.

RiShawn posts this, now? Where has he bene for the last 18 months?

However true his writing is, it's tardy, at the very least. He's in no trouble at the Star, because every good newspaper needs an inside curmudgeon. Duck, RiShawn, the Amos and Wilson swipe is coming. And it won't be base don facts.

His diatribe would carry a little more water if he took on his own newspaper. In particular, Matt Tully personally witnessed a Carson meltdown last year, on a taped Ch. 13 television show, and he followed up with nothing. Not a damned thing. Ditto for Ch. 13's Kevin Rader. And, then, a big ditto for all Indy reporters who saw the show tape-delayed, unedited, on Ch. 13. It involved the infamous little girl Julia saw, but nobbody else saw...remember?

Indy media like being cozy with their subjects, thus, they'll not ask the tough questions they need to ask. Which is sad. If this pimple had been popped earlier, the damage would've been done, absorbed, and perhaps some institutional reforms enacted long before now. The result would've been a 100% safe Bart.

Now, he's just 54$ safe.

As it is, the collective public outrage at Juice, Gibson, 300 East, the concrete company Juice set up, et al, will likely result in only a return to 15-14 Demo majority next week. It might, underline MIGHT, lead to a new council president.

But Monroe will get re-elected. If he doesn't, the art museum will falll into the canal.

Anonymous said...

Sherron Franklin won narrowly last time, and as a gay interracial couple in her district, we had voted for her, sent her a congratulatory letter asking her support for the Human Rights Ordinance. Her reply rambled on about "I don't care what anybody does in bed, but I don't understand why people have to talk about what they do in bed openly", without any indication of understanding. She subsequently voted against the HRO. While we'd like to see the Council remain in Democrat control, it's yes to McQuillen as well as Scott Keller.

Anonymous said...

7:16 raises a good point. Sherron rambles on stupidly about multiple subjects. She can't string together two compelte English sentences.

Listened to Sherron on Abdul's radio show this morning. Damn, Sherron: SUBJECT VERB agreement. Think about it. Practice it.

A complete embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Sherron babbles...sometimes you cant even tell what the subject is that she is talking about...I wonder what high school she graduated from ...if she did...

Anonymous said...

"Sherron babbles...sometimes you cant even tell what the subject is that she is talking about...I wonder what high school she graduated from ...if she did."

I'm not a fan of Ms. Franklin, but as a qualification of employment for her job she was required to show proof of a high school diploma or a GED.