Thursday, December 04, 2014

More Likely Than Ever Voters Will Have Few Choices In Next Year's Municipal Elections

Unless you've been sleeping under a rock, you've long ago concluded that there really is no two-party system in Marion County. The people who run both the Republican and Democratic parties are in bed together and broker the outcome of elections to the extent they can before voters ever step foot in a voting booth. Most City-County Council districts are gerrymandered to favor the election of either a Republican or Democratic council member. The parties handpick their candidates behind closed doors with a candidate's qualifications or ideology being the least of their consideration. "Beholden" and "reachable" are attributes more suited for a slated party candidate. If you choose to vote in either the primary or general election in next year's municipal election, with few exceptions, you will have no real choices for the council races to make your vote meaningful.

The mayor's race is shaping up to be equally as undemocratic. Democrats have already settled on former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett, a consummate politician who can be all things to all people depending on who you ask. State Rep. Ed DeLaney, who I never believed was serious about running, announced he would not seek the Democratic nomination today. Presumably, he's lined up a top slot for his son, Tim, in a Hogsett administration, which was likely the only reason he pretended to be a serious question for the past few months. Tim, by the way, is supposedly in charge of the grand jury division of the Marion Co. Prosecutor's Office under Terry Curry, the one which failed to hear a single witness or gather a shred of evidence in the public corruption case of former Education Supt. Tony Bennett, even after being delivered reams of evidence and advised by the state's Inspector General last February that criminal charges were advisable. Coincidentally, Curry's re-election race this year represents the first time in memory that the Marion Co. Republicans chose not to seriously contest the prosecutor's race.

Joe Hogsett had earlier said he was content completing his term as U.S. Attorney and not going to run for mayor. Those plans changed on a dime earlier this year after rumors began circulating that pressure had been applied to Mayor Greg Ballard not to seek re-election, along with his decision to deep six every public corruption case on his plate, including former Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi and Tony Bennett, even after the state's Inspector General delivered a lengthy report detailing at least 100 instances of alleged federal wire fraud violations by Bennett and his staff. Republicans for their part have made no real effort to recruit a serious candidate to run for mayor next year. Their number one focus right now seems to be the defeat of Christine Scales, perhaps the only legitimate Republican left on the City-County Council. She dares to think for herself and stand up for Republican values, which is not compatible with the party leadership's agenda.

While the changing demographics of Marion County in favor of Democrats are undisputed, Republicans have always fared far better in mayoral elections for more than a half-century than the demographics would suggest. The only Democrat to serve among a long line of Republican mayors was Bart Peterson, who won in no small part due to the help of key Republicans. Sue Anne Gilroy's campaign against Peterson was undercut by members of her own party. Republicans didn't field serious candidates in Peterson's next two races. The double blow of skyrocketing property tax bills and an untimely income tax increase ruined the best-laid plans of the leaders of both party to ensure a third term for Peterson and allow the accidental mayor, Greg Ballard, to prevail on a shoe string campaign budget.

Despite promises to the contrary, Ballard has governed no differently than Bart Peterson to the delight of the political establishment. It is nearly impossible to find any promises he kept when he first ran for mayor other than the one designed to show he intended to make public safety job one by putting the mayor and not the sheriff in charge of the police department. It quickly became apparent his priorities lied elsewhere, including funneling more tax dollars to the professional sports teams, downtown convention business, massive public subsidies for downtown redevelopment, bicycle lanes and of all things, a cricket field. His anti-tax message got lost as well. It's hard to find a tax or fee he hasn't raised since becoming mayor, making him the biggest tax-and-spend mayor in the City's history. His successful efforts to sell off key city assets to enrich political cronies, however, will likely have the longest and most damaging impact on the City's residents. Suffice it to say, anyone who believes in core Republican principles has little affinity for Ballard and won't be the least bit disappointed to see him leave the mayor's office.

It remains to be seen whether the Republicans will even bother to field a serious candidate. The one candidate insiders had hoped might run, Murray Clark, has decided not to run. Their only hope at this point seems to rest on goading Rev. Charles Harrison, a black minister known more for showboating than ministering to the faithful. The Ten Points Coalition run by him and other black ministers embodies every negative stereotype most non-blacks have of flashy black ministers. He couldn't even tell reporters today when he filed paperwork announcing the formation of an exploratory committee what party he plans to run under. It's more than likely that his candidacy is being promoted by Republicans who want him to run as a third party candidate in the event the party decides to field a serious candidate in the mayor's race for the sole purpose of siphoning black votes away from Hogsett. Good luck with that. The bottom line is next year's municipal election is likely to offer few choices and little hope to the disenchanted masses, which is precisely the desired outcome intended by the leaders of the two major parties.


Anonymous said...

Stunningly superb article; dead-on accurate analysis of Marion County Democrat and Republican political corruption and their sub rosa collusion. Those of us with longevity in the MCRCC know too well that everything- EVERYTHING- you put to electronic paper herein is true. Completely true. If only Gary Welsh would run for mayor!!!

And thank God someone has the courage to call out The Ten Point Coalition and its "leader/grandstander" Charles Harrison for what both really are... a ship of hypocrites and fools on the order of cartoon character Al Sharpton. That Howdy Doody Hogsett appears currently to be headed to be Indy's next mayor is quite sad. Hogsett is little more than Melina Kennedy in a suit- although he plays far better media-wise than she was ever capable of doing.

Until we return our local and state Republican Party to principle and honor, elections in which the people have a real choice will continue to elude the electorate. And that will never happen until we rid ourselves of the stooges long in place to prevent that political fresh air from rising.

Flogger said...

Good points in your article and sadly true. Some Politicians will play the game, and I should underline play, which creates the illusion of a two party system. Some elected officials may be given permission slips to act independent from time to time. Christine Scales is not one them. The reality is we have a Republicrat Party in Marion County. The goal of the "Shadow Government" is to carry out the Agenda of the Crony-Capitalists.

We know that Big Business has it's own Agenda, each Company seeks to maximize it's own Profits. It is the job of the Government to make certain the whole is not sacrificed for the few and the connected at the expense of the many. In this respect the Government has failed, there is a collaboration among Elected Officials and the Profit Seekers.

We have here in Marion County almost countless examples of the Government acting not as watch dog for Citizens, but as a facilitator for the Shadow Government and the interests they represent.

The only hope and it slim one is the Libertarian Party can field a candidate willing to expose the Crony-Capitalist system.

Anonymous said...

"Suffice it to say, anyone who believes in core Republican principles has little affinity for Ballard..."

Anyone who believes in anything but what Ballard and Mitch has done needs to dump their old beliefs and recognize that Ballard and Mitch are exactly what Republicanism is all about.

The Republicans are a money party, masters at funnelling government money to private pockets. This is what they've always been. It's amazing that ordinary citizens vote for this millionaire's club.

Anonymous said...

Given the increased centralized and increased size of government, there is simply too much money involved to allow the voters to control the process.

Our system was designed to work at the precinct level and the political system was decentralized. Since the Precinct Committeemen no longer have power (and are appointed by the party Bosses), representative leadership is absent at the local level. The only threat to the Democratic or Republican Bosses was the Tea Party that has been sidelined.

The system is corrupt beyond the imagination of the average voter. The system has evolved into one quite similar to the one currently in place in China.

Anonymous said...

maybe he was advised not to say what party he would run with…..stereo tying here does no good for anyone..Anon here sounds like he's about ready to bust out his white robe, to say that Harrision is in the same boat as Sharpton is our racist and shows exactly where folks in Indy are coming from..Wow,,let the racist start

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:40 seems to refuse to admit that the Democrat Party is ALSO a "money party"... and possibly more so. 8:40 surely has noted how Barak Obama holds endless fundraisers with his uber-rich friends at thousands of dollars a plate. BO also counts Wall Street among his most active moneybag donors.

So, 8:40... please be honest about the devious Democraps as well... who also count the super rich Hollywood set as favored political donors bestowed with special tax breaks we regular people could sure use.

The argument that it is only the Republican party that is the party of the crony capitalist is pure baloney... the Democrats are every bit as "guilty".... every damn bit.