As I've noted before, I would have preferred Indianapolis Councilman Ed Coleman stay working within the Republican Party for reform. After all, he is the only one, Republican or Democrat, who dared to ask questions about the Capital Improvement Board and he felt tremendous pressure within the Republican caucus for doing so. Meanwhile, outside that caucus room, voters are outraged by what's going on with the CIB and are demanding answers. Translation: Ed Coleman was retaliated against because he truly believed in standing up for the taxpayers.
Regardless of whether the argument is that Ed Coleman should work within the Republican Party for reform, or became a Libertarian, how he has been treated since his "coming out" has been disgraceful. Sitting in on that council meeting and seeing the performances of President Bob Cockrum and Lincoln Plowman, I was embarrassed for the Marion County Republican Party. The only one who showed the slightest shred of decency toward Coleman was the Democrat, Joanne Sanders, and that sentiment was very much muted.
But from a political standpoint, it was the height of stupidity for the Republican councilors to strip Coleman of his committees. Republicans, by their treatment of Coleman, have all but ensured they have no chance of winning the at-large seats in 2011 or retaining control of the council. They also set themselves up for one more Republican to switch his vote on leadership to oust Cockrum, Plowman and Ryan Vaughn. Don't think for a second that pot isn't simmering. There are plenty of unhappy Republicans on the council.
Without further ado, here's the press release:
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - (March 3, 2009) -- Out of the political need for retribution, and to send a message that stepping outside the old 'two party system' monopoly will have consequences, the City County Council's Democrat and Republican leadership decided Monday to remove Ed Coleman from all committees. With numerous supporters of Councilor Coleman present, the decision was made in an "executive session" that prevented public comment.
Coleman was appointed to the Rules and Public Policy Committee and the Economic Development Committee at the beginning of the year. Now that he has publicly changed his affiliation to the Libertarian Party, a move that represented a clear warning shot to the old two-party power structure, they are using Councilor Coleman to send a warning to others.
Coleman was disappointed in the lack of imagination and statesmanship shown by Council leaders. "They can pretend we don't exist, but the Libertarian Party is on the ballot in Indiana," said Coleman. "The voters deserve to have my voice heard. If the rules are not clear enough for the Council leadership, then maybe we need to change the rules. Shutting us out of the process only proves that 'open and honest dialogue' is not really welcomed. I left the Republican Party because they have consistently put the Republican Party above the Indianapolis taxpayer."
LPMC Chairman Timothy Maguire also expressed his disappointment at the decision. "Clearly, Councilor Coleman was deemed fit to serve on these committees a few weeks ago but this isn't the first time political gamesmanship has overtaken common sense," said Maguire. "The Libertarian Party is here to stay, and Ed Coleman is guaranteed to be on this body for three more years. It would have made more sense for the Council to work on being inclusive rather than fretting about how to dissuade anyone else who might stand up against entrenched political machinery. In 2007, the Republicans promised a more fair and open City government, and this is certainly the opposite of that promise to Indianapolis taxpayers.""
I am also disappointed that Council President Cockrum wasn't willing to take any public comment on the matter by putting the meeting into Executive Session," continued Maguire."I find it troubling that the Council leadership wasn't interested in hearing public opinion. Councilor Coleman was only allowed to defend his position after significant arm twisting. The Marion County Republican Party is showing the same hubris the Democrats exhibited in 2007, and easily explains why a two-party system is broken. The Parties and their friends win, and the taxpayer loses."
For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Sean Shepard at 317.513.2406 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The difference between the big parties and the Libertarian Party:
The big parties are driven by cronyism; the Libertarians are driven by idealism.
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