Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tom John Out As Marion County GOP Chairman

Marion Co. GOP Chairman Tom John will announce he is stepping down from his post tomorrow according to a Fox 59 News report tonight and other sources. His decision comes on the heels of the party's poor showing in the biggest national Republican wave election in decades. The party lost every single county-wide race. John was also publicly humiliated earlier this year when embattled Marion Co. GOP Prosecutor Carl Brizzi referred allegations by John's ex-wife that he had forged loan documents to a special prosecutor for investigation. A special prosecutor later cleared John of criminal wrongdoing. John suffered a major embarrassment during the 2008 primary when he filed to run for precinct committeeperson in the wrong precinct and then proceeded to lose the race. He appointed himself to a vacant position so he could continue serving as county chairman. The party re-elected him chairman despite the misstep. He even had the support of Mayor Greg Ballard, even though he openly scoffed at his campaign when he ran his uphill campaign against Bart Peterson in 2007.

Mayor Greg Ballard and the Republican-led council will stand for re-election in next year's municipal election. Although Ballard and Republican council candidates lambasted then-Mayor Bart Peterson and the Democratic-led council for raising taxes, a lack of transparency in the budget process and a series of ethical lapses, Ballard and the Republicans have governed no differently than the Democrats, raising taxes and fees, playing shell games with the budget, giving handouts to billionaire sports team owners, selling off city assets and allowing their council leader, Ryan Vaughn, to engage in a series of self-dealing activities for the benefit of his law firm's clients.

Speculation on John's replacement has so far focused on Kyle Walker. Walker is a political hack who ran the county party for John before joining the Ballard administration as an official at the Department of Public Works but still found time to engage in political activities. Walker parlayed his city job into a job working with a city contractor for his former government employer, a position that has allowed him to spend a considerable amount of his time collecting hefty political consulting fees from other candidates, such as losing GOP prosecutor candidate Mark Massa, and to hit up other card-carrying members of the Pay-To-Play Club for contributions to Ballard's and the party's campaign committees. If you asked him what the principles of governing are for the Republican Party, he couldn't tell you. Like John, he's only interested in government job seekers and government contractors having a role in party affairs. Technically, it's the precinct committeepersons who select the county chairman, but because most of them are appointed by John, it's highly unlikely any truly principled Republican could get elected chairman. Next year's municipal elections should prove as fruitful for Republicans in Marion County as this year's election. The leadership has managed to drive away virtually everyone responsible for the party's 2007 victories.

Here is John's resignation statement to committeepersons:

Fellow Republicans:

Initially, I want to thank you for the privilege to lead you as your County Chairman. I ran for Chairman in 2007 believing that Republicans provide a better vision for our city and county and that Republicans could still win in Marion County. Four years later, I know that we can win races and I am absolutely sure that we have the better vision for our community's future.

Since we won the Mayor's office and Council in 2007, it has been with great pride as I have watched Mayor Ballard and the Republican Council lead our city forward. The previous administration had plagued our city with wasteful spending, ethical clouds, and spiraling taxes. But Mayor Ballard and the Republican Council wasted no time in addressing these issues. They have ushered in a new era of balanced budgets, lower property taxes, unprecedented transparency in government, and much needed infrastructure investments.

Our city cannot afford to stop this progress now. It is critical that we all rally together behind these great leaders in the coming year. They have proven to be wise stewards with our tax dollars, effective managers of our city, and offer the kind of creative and thoughtful leadership the City of Indianapolis deserves.

As I reflect on our work of the past four years, we have seen many successes. In 2007, we won all of the Mayor's offices and councils in the County (Mayors Ballard, Ricketts, Wright and Thoman) for the first time in memory. In 2008, we also turned out 3,000 more straight Republican votes than in 2004 and, this year, we turned out 5,000 more straight ticket Republican votes than we did in 2006. Moreover, in the face of a difficult and abbreviated campaign, Mark Massa got nearly as many votes as Carl Brizzi did in 2006 (Massa-101,560 to Brizzi 103,777) while spending about a third of the money as Brizzi spent in 2006. While it is a tremendous disappointment to not have Mark Massa as our prosecutor, as Mark said, I believe that we "left it all on the court" and made a good showing in a race that was a very difficult given the circumstances. Finally, we had important victories this year by returning Larry Buell's House seat to the Republican column with the hard fought race by Cindy Kirchhofer and Wayne Township into Republican hands through the well run campaign of Andy Harris.

Notwithstanding the achievements of our organization, we have significant challenges. The Democrats continue to see a greater increase in their straight ticket voters, and continue to increase their overall voter turnout. This means that we must work even harder to turn out more of our voters and must be better at every aspect of campaigns to continue to put ourselves in position to win marquis races.

Reflecting on my time as Chairman, I am proud of many of our achievements. While I do believe that there were times I could have communicated better or acted more deliberately, I always took action that I believed was best for our party. Unfortunately, sometimes that even meant calling republicans to account, something which I did not do gladly, but I did it because it was right. Finally, I'm grateful for our team, Vice-Chairman Ping, the Central Committee, the tremendous staff, our dedicated team of area chairman, and all the members of the organization who have worked hard and have always been motivated by a single motive to get Republicans elected.

On a personal level, being chairman has its costs. Whether it is people upset with decisions you make or simply the difficulty of balancing the unpaid Chairmanship with work demands and family obligations, it is a difficult job that takes a toll. For these reasons, I have always believed that a chairman should not remain in the role too long. As I look at my personal priorities and the tremendously important year upcoming, I have decided to resign as your chairman effective upon the election of my successor.

This does not mean that I intend to walk away from our party or the fight facing our city. Quite to the contrary, I intend to stay actively involved and continue to help Mayor Ballard and our Council in every way that I can and to be an advocate for our city at every opportunity. I believe now more than ever that the Republican leadership of our community is essential and we must all give as much as we can in time, treasure and effort, to ensure that the visionary leadership of people like Mayors Ballard and Ricketts and Council President Vaughn, along with his tremendous caucus, continues to guide our city. I just believe it's time that I move to a different role and that someone ready to fulfill the chairman role, in a different way, step up.

In the coming days, there will no doubt be conversations about who is the best person to succeed me. This decision is that of the PCs alone and is one of the most important duties they carry as organization members. I do not presume to tell anyone who you should pick. I offer the following thoughts, however, as you examine those who may step up to be reviewed for the task.

First, as all previous chairmen and I know, this office is a heavy burden to carry when also working another job to earn a living. This is even truer in a municipal cycle. Thus, I suggest that our next Chairman be able to commit all or nearly all of their time to being chairman. Secondly, another important aspect of being chairman is that the chairman should know and understand our entire organization, whether that is from experience as a member of the organization or candidate or such other experience. Third, it is important to look for someone familiar with all aspects of the office's responsibilities, including running campaigns, raising money, and the very important nuts and bolts of ensuring we have poll workers and completely filled PC and Ward Chair positions. Finally, and in my mind most importantly, this person must have demonstrated a history of love of and dedication to our city and our party. Ultimately, that grit and passion will help them through the tough times and help us win elections in the face of significant challenges.

Once again, thank you for the honor of serving as your chairman and all that you do for our party and city. Now let's get out there and work to re-elect our mayor and ensure him a great partner in a Republican Council.

Tom John
I'm not sure what "wasteful spending, ethical clouds and spiraling taxes" have been addressed by Ballard and the Republican council. My property taxes have gone up, the largest income tax increase in city history was made permanent, other taxes and fees were raised, $33.5 million was handed out to a billionaire sports team owner, Mayor Ballard has accepted free country club memberships valued in the tens of thousands of dollars despite declaring the "end to country club politics", a Republican councilor was forced to resign after being charged with bribery and the Republican council leader has engaged in one self-dealing transaction after another, but I wouldn't want to confuse him with the facts. As for his mouthpiece over at the lowest rated talk show in town, I never cast a vote for John as county chairman. He handpicked a nominating committee to nominate his slate of officers, appointed most of the committeepersons eligible to vote, got Mayor Ballard's blessing to continue dismantling the party, and there was no vote taken as he was elected by acclamation, but again, let's not confuse them with the facts.


dcrutch said...

I'm glad John is gone, but enough of hacks. When the Democrats fall again to their variation of this inner cycle of greed & corruption, I'd like a more humbled Republican party genuinely representing conservative taxpayers to be around as an alternative.

That's probably as much fantasy as typical Democratic economic theory, but I can hope. Mr. Ogden has expressed interest in trying to rebuild. The Tea-Partiers are a cross-demographic influence. Sooner or later, one way or another, America will meet economic reality. Will there be a party there to better serve the people? I hope so.

M Theory said...

That loser took credit for the work of the tea party activists in 2007. He was banking on Ballard losing, not winning.

Tom John barely went through the motions in Ballard's campaign. That election was won by the work of the people. And Tom John wasn't organizing The People. That work was done by us.

I'll never forget the one time I went to GOP HQ to make calls for Ballard. There were a dozen or so people around a big phone table.

Tom John walks in acting like a peaCOCK. He did not acknowledge the volunteers, as if we were nothing more than slaves.

A thank you was too much for him to give. I'll never forget his arrogant condescending air.

Paul K. Ogden said...

"visionary leadership of people like Mayors Ballard and Ricketts and Council President Vaughn."

And what "vision" would tha be? A "vision" of insiders walking away with fistfulls of taxpayers money?

Citizen Kane said...

Paul, the big issue is that there are very many people who fall for the nonsense that TJ wrote; they are not aware of what their public servants are doing to them.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Good riddance to one nasty operator. Hopefully, he will move to another county.