Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hijacking The Revolution

We thought we won Tuesday night with the upset victory of Greg Ballard over Mayor Bart Peterson. Mayor-Elect Ballard himself declared the victory a win for the grassroots folks who formed the bedrock of his campaign the last six months. But it took all of 48 hours for the elitist establishment to hijack our revolution and claim the new administration for themselves. The transition team is full of lobbyists and lawyers whose firms made millions during the Peterson administration courtesy of government contracts. And which of these people will be interested in trimming all the fat in that particular budget line, which Ballard promised during the campaign he would look first to reduce city spending by 10%?

Reporting on Mayor-Elect Ballard's naming of his transition team members, Mary Beth Schneider writes, "All of them also have one other thing in common: They supported Ballard, some financially and some by volunteering, during the campaign." Well, let's just say some of those folks had a strange way of showing their support for Ballard during the campaign. Schneider's reporting during the mayoral campaign easily topped that of other mainstream reporters, but she missed the story here. And that's the failure to bring to the table people who are dedicated to bringing about the change Ballard's election promised to the faithful grassroots people who overcame the money and power of the ruling elite to propel Ballard to victory.

Some will no doubt cite the presence of Greg Wilson and Darla Williams on his transition team as evidence Ballard hasn't forgotten who helped him get elected. I know nothing about Greg Wilson, but I know plenty about Darla Williams. She indeed worked in the trenches to help Ballard, but the impetus of her support focused on minority contracting and her ongoing feud with the Peterson administration. I don't criticize Williams' appointment to the transition committee but rather the specific role with which she's been tasked: liaison to the Peterson administration.

Mayor Peterson graciously promised us a smooth transition. Sending in Williams to meet with Peterson's staff on your behalf is fly in the ointment to say the very least. And if past performance in this specific role is any indication, Williams receives a failing mark. She served a similar role for then-Coroner-elect Kenneth Ackles back when she was still calling herself a Democrat and was a self-proclaimed Peterson supporter, having been appointed as a hearing officer in his administration. The transition between Ackles and outgoing Coroner Dr. John McGoff was an unmitigated disaster, but don't take my word for it. Ask any member of McGoff's staff who worked with Williams during the transition and you'll get an earful.

No doubt what I write here today will ruffle the feathers of a lot of folks. During his campaign for mayor, Ballard once stopped me and told me that he liked me because I kept him honest. Well, Mayor-Elect Ballard, I'm still keeping you honest. To those of us who fought and won the revolution, the transition team is comprised of too many folks who have slammed the doors to government in our faces in the past and used it as a mere instrumentality to serve their own self-interests. If you truly want to bring about change, you have to reach out to agents of change. The message you send with this transition team is business as usual. And that's not what you wanted to hear but it's what you have to hear if you want your administration to become what I believe you truly want it to be.


Anonymous said...

Here is what I think, not that anyone cares:

Greg Wilson is a 100% great guy. I have seen this man in action and he is a wonderful choice. To Greg (Wilson) I say congratulations!

Darla Williams is a disaster. People who read your blog, but don't post, have emailed me to say everything that has been written about her is 100% true, they have experienced her ugliness themselves.

As for the other people all I can tell you is it is our job to hold them accountable.

It IS your responsibility, Gary, to let Ballard know in this public forum when you disapprove, but in the end he is the one who put himself out there, ran for office, and won.

I will support Ballard, he has a very difficult job ahead of him so he needs us to let him know what our opinions are.

Wilson46201 said...

Interestingly, there's no mention of Darla Williams and her previously-announced role as 'ambassador' to the outgoing Peterson Administration in this morning's lengthy Star story about the transition team. Odd!

Gary R. Welsh said...

Want a take a bet, Wilson, on whether it makes the "Behind Closed Doors column tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

Don't be so quick to jump to conclusions, Greg Ballard will do what he promised to do no matter how dificult. He has made sure there are a few people whom he knows and trust completely.! There will be no hijacking in his administration!

I know both Greg WIlson & Darla Williams and all I can say is that they support Ballard and worked hard to help get him elected.

Wilson46201 said...

If "Behind Closed Doors" doesn't pick up on the dump Darla just unloaded on the previous thread, they will have missed a good one!

Anonymous said...

With former US District Attorney Susan Brooks on this so-called "transition team" you will find that Ballard has absolutely no intention whatsoever of cleaning up crime in the inner city.
While Susan Brooks was US District Attorney she was provided with an enormous mountain of evidence relating to black organized crime operating in Indianapolis. Illegal numbers racketeering, narcotics trafficking, prostitution, loan sharking were all documented and placed on her desk.
She did NOTHING!
The Department of Justice had this same information and had conducted it's own three year investigation and that investigation stopped in January of 2007 for "political reasons".
Now, with IMPD coming back under the control of the Mayor with Susan Brooks AND Carl Brizzi as part of his "inner circle" you will see organized crime activity in the inner city continue unabated.
Every single one of the illegal numbers houses (pea shakes) will continue as they always have and their narcotics will continue to flood our worst neighborhoods.

Ballard will take IMPD and place it under his control but the reality is that IMPD has Ballard under their control.
Organized crime cannot operate without having control over law enforcement and politicians. Unfortunately, organized crime has a seat at the Ballard table, just as they did with Peterson, Goldsmith, Hudnut, Lugar and Barton.

Anonymous said... one from Baker Daniels
on the transition team??? Even if
only to keep an eye on what the Ice Miller and B& T folks are doing? Everyone knows the big law firms with partners hauling in $550 K a year are just "grass roots" kind of people. Wink.

There's a lot of naive suckers who voted for and campaigned for Ballard who are going to find out that there's going to be musical chairs will be played, much to their disappointment.

Anonymous said...

Oh what the hell, even Castro didn't know what to do after his revolution. The first thing he did, other than round up his opposition and shoot them was to put Che Guevara in charge of Cuba's banking system.
Che of course, did understand banking and even shot a low handicap as a golfer but banks and running a government? Not up his cup of rum.
He booked and ended up in Bolivia doing what he did best and then found himself on a slab.
Looking back, maybe what Castro needed was Merle Miller and Harry Ice. Sorry, I think he did.

Anonymous said...

Where in the hell did you get Laison to BART, instead of Ballard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And what business is it

Anonymous said...

"Ballard will take IMPD and place it under his control but the reality is that IMPD has Ballard under their control."

Not true 9:10, A lot of officers on IMPD are military vets. We know who's in charge and we know how to respect the chain of command.

Anonymous said...

Geeze, Gary, are you trying to sound like some of the wingnuts who post on here instead of the sophisticated, politically asute pundit I always had you pegged as? You're losing it! You're also proving to be a fair-weather friend to the Mayor-elect. Nobody elected you to build his administration, after all. Take a deep breath and Xanax!

Gary R. Welsh said...

"Geeze, Gary, are you trying to sound like some of the wingnuts who post on here instead of the sophisticated, politically asute pundit I always had you pegged as?"

If being true to my principals makes me a wingnut, then so be it. My position on these matters has been consisent. People who read my blog regularly like the fact that I don't selectively mete out criticism based on a person's party affiliation.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem is you fundamentally misunderstand the character of a Marine. Marines are not ideologues. They are honorable pragmatists. They are about getting the job done. You are being a rigid, populist ideologue in this instance, Gary. Thankfully, Indy elected a Mayor who will use whoever and whatever is necessary to get the city out of the mess it's in. So the starry-eyed romantics will be disappointed that he won't remain "pure". Get over it. You elected a smart, wise leader, not a revolutionary.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and lots of evil and stupidity is masked with the excuse that one is 'being true to ones principles.' You can do better than that tired old saw to defend your opinions.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Oh please, this has nothing to do with being a Marine or not being a Marine. It has nothing to do with ideology in the sense of being liberal or conservative. There's a small clique of elites who have been calling the shots in this town regardless of whether a Republican or Democrat occupies the mayor's office. The corrupting influence of this clique of elites has taken its toll. Ballard had no ties to those folks and they wanted no part of his campaign. Now that he's won, they are the people sitting at the table once again calling the shots. It's perfectly clear to those who have followed my blog what I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is, the fact that you think these people are "calling the shots" mean you simply have no faith in the integrity and character of a man you helped put in charge of the city. Is he really that weak? You apparently agree with the Peterson/MC Democrats who argued that very point during the campaign. Either Greg Ballard has the stones to be his own man as mayor or he doesn't. Make up your mind.

Anonymous said...

With the team as a whole, Ballard has set himself up for failure!
John Cochran is an arrogant jerk who is only out for John Cochran.
He dumped on the volunteers that helped Ballard, treated them like second class citizens, and now wants a deputy mayors position.
He will be the downfall of the Ballard Administration.

Anonymous said...

Good grief - give the man a chance! I'm not crazy about some of the people names to the transition team but you got to admit they all know the workings of the city - inside and out! I believe in Ballard and believe he'll see through the B.S. and put this city back on the right track.

Anonymous said...

I've known John Cochran for several years, and he is nothing like the previous poster described. He's a very down to earth, nice, intelligent guy who knows his stuff when it comes to government and politics. Ballard is lucky to have him, and he knows it.

Anonymous said...

Let's everybody hold on here for a minute. We can disagree over the make-up of this transition team, but there has to be an adult in the room to tell Greg he made a bad decision in picking Darla to carry out this particular task. Your point about Darla is dead-on Gary. What I can't believe is there was nobody in the room to stop Greg from making this particular decision. I don't have Greg's ear. Would somone who does please, I beg you, for Greg's sake and the sake of this city, tell him Darla has to be removed from this role? Knock Gary all you want, but mistakes like this happen because there aren't people like Gary in the room with Greg who have the backbone or the care to tell him he is making a big mistake.

Anonymous said...

ANON 12:01 Wasn't Ollie North a Marine??

Anonymous said...

yes there are a few of the old brigade, but there are also watchers on the transition team to make sure they play fair.

Anonymous said...

John Cochran is an honest hardworking person who is very good at what he does. Give the guy a break. He did win the election of the century............flipper

Anonymous said...

I'm a Dmeocrat who's dealt with John Cochran before. I honestly wish Ballard well.

Cochran is arrogant and snipey. He's also sharp as a tack.

I don't know this Darla character. I generally trust Gary's observation. And here's a rule of thumb that'll suit you well most of the time:

If Wilson is stalking you, you're probably doing something right.

His political days are numbered. Ballard's are just beginning. I've been through a couple of transitions. State and city.

All they do is sort resumes. Ballard will still make all the important decisions.

The nuts-and-bolts work is done by the department heads, cabinet-level folks and one level under.

Watch those appointments if you want a real indicator how Greg Ballard will do.

With Evan Bayh and Frank O'Bannon and Bart Peterson, they thought there was an equal sign between law degree and common sense.

Which, of course, there isn't.

Patience, Ballard folks. I have high hopes for this guy. Genuine populists come around once in a lifetime.

Wilson46201 said...

...and if you think I am stalking you, you seriously have a screw loose. Poor Darla just accused me of "stealing mail" which is a major Federal offense - rather felonious, in fact. Rather unwise for an attorney to do without proof. Kinda libelous too. That poor child has serious unresolved personal issues in her life!

Zappatista said...

And the beat goes on...... "I would like to thank you all...for making me rich". This statement should be heard in 4 years! Obviously, I am kidding (to an extent) but very depressing, but seriously, what did you expect?

Anonymous said...

Calm down, WA...I never said you were stalking me.

But you admitted elsewhere, that to check on Ms. Williams's status, you dropped into her office, and inquired from building guards about her departure, to where she went, date of exit, etc.

If you don't have legitimate business with her, and you drop by her office/former office unannounced, to check up on her veracity, after you've seriously questioned her honesty publicly, that, my friend, is borderline stalking.

And if I were Ms. Williams, and you affirmed that behavior, it's creepy, and I'd get a protective order.

Who appointed you checker of facts for the entire county? And why is it so important to you personally?

You don't have no nickel in that dime.

Anonymous said...

So you Gary and the "grassroots" are claiming credit for Ballard's ignoble ascendancy? That's rich.

Ballard won by less votes than Gilroy lost by in Peterson's first election.

People voted to remove the next elected official up for re-election after the STATE property tax crisis. Period.

To claim some more organized or "power of the people" outcome is hypocrisy and egotism to the extreme.

Not that anyone has ever accused you, Gary, of being devoid of ego...

indyernie said...

Wilson, Darla isn't the only one that you have stalked.
This "who me" bull shit isn't going to fly anymore. You not only stalk you twist facts and truth.
You're a miserable ass hole.
If you don't like what I said you know where to find me.
Be a man, shut up or come knock on my door.

Anonymous said...

Ernie, his days are numbered. His gang was reduced by a few TYuesday, and his gang will be further reduced next year at the polls. Patience.

I appreciate your sentiment, but this is a sick man.

I'd withdraw the front porch offer if I were you.

indyernie said...

"I'd withdraw the front porch offer if I were you."

I would consider that if I weren't sure that my two-year-old grandson could take him if needed.
Thanks for the concern.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the remaining democrats on the city council are set to elect Monroe Gray as the minority leader....HAVE THEY NO SHAME!! If they do, they will lose every office up in the county next year. This man is a cancer on the Democratic party...he cost the mayor his job and he cost our party the council.......Every councilor who votes for him needs to be picketed every where they go until Monroe is removed from the minority leader position. I wouldnt be surprised if that happened......can you imagine Monroe Gray pickets at Library board meetings, at UAW meetings etc.......

Anonymous said...

Well, Mayor-Elect Ballard, I'm still keeping you honest. To those of us who fought and won the revolution, the transition team is comprised of too many folks who have slammed the doors to government in our faces in the past and used it as a mere instrumentality to serve their own self-interests.

Care to be more specific, like mentioning THEIR names and specifically what THEY did?

Anonymous said...

Regarding members of the transition team...forming teams to work under those responsible for providing Mayor Ballard guidance is an excellent plan. Choosing John Linn to assist with the challemged Indianapolis Fire Department is an ec=xcellent choice. He is a 23 year member holding the rank of fire Captain with experience and vision regarding the delivery of services to the citizens of Indianapolis. It is time an administration used the talents, skills, and abilities of IFD rank and file like Captain Linn. Congratulations to the Republican party.