Monday, May 11, 2009

Mayor of Indianapolis 2011

Early this month, Gary Welsh over at Advance Indiana picked up on a Legislative Insight story that I might be considering a run for Mayor in 2011.

Indeed it is true...though I would stress the word "considering."

As Gary pointed out in this story, it's a premature consideration as there is another election between now and then - 2010 where the Republicans may well end up losing the Prosecutor's Office.

Having been a candidate before, I know the stress and time involved in campaigning, especially for a competitive seat. People who have never been a candidate don't know how such a campaign turns your life upside down for months if not years at a time. It's a financial and personal drain like no other.

When I ran for the House on the northwest side of Indianapolis in 2000, we managed to take a race that wasn't even on the radar in terms of a possible pick up by Republicans, to a race that was the No. 1 competitive district against a sitting challenger. To get to that point, however, required an extraordinary amount of work that basically put my life on hold for more than a year.

In short, while I'm not going to wait until the last minute to make this decision, I'm not going to jump into it early either. I have another 18 months or so to think about it. Eighteen months from now it may be the wrong time in my life personally to pursue such a venture. Regardless, it's not like jumping in early would allow me to outraise Mayor Ballard who is sitting there with tons of city contractors who are being shaken down for contributions as witnessed by his 2008 report. Indeed those contributions, which closely smack of pay to play politics, is one thing I would be campaigning against.

But as Mayor Peterson demonstrated in 2007, having a lot of money does not solace an angry electorate. Today Mayor Ballard sits in an even worse position than Mayor Peterson did in 2007 in terms of public opinion. It may change by 2011, but I think it is doubtful.

Why would I even consider run in the Republican Primary against a sitting Mayor? It is evident, that Mayor Ballard has been nothing short of a disaster for my Republican Party. Elected as a populist, anti-tax Mayor, he quickly discarded the people who helped him get elected to sidle up to new friends who have long advanced the bipartisan tradition of corporate welfare in this city. To bail out the CIB, he insists taxes be raised, and tries relentlessly to mislead the public into believing we really need to raise hospitality taxes to protect the hospitality industry...and it has nothing to do with the professionals sports teams. Not once has Mayor Ballard challenged the notion of the CIB picking up $15 million in operating costs at Conseco Fieldhouse, while still giving the Pacers 100% of the revenue off of the building. He also refuses to hold the Colts accountable. Even though the CIB deficit is nearly 50% of their budget, and the board has been in the hole for 10 years, Mayor Ballard refuses to ask for an investigation of the CIB or to even ask for any reform of the CIB so this doesn't happen again after a bailout. Instead, Mayor Ballard sticks by his appointment of a CIB President who has as big a conflict of interest as I have ever seen in government.

If it were only Mayor Ballard's deficiencies, I still wouldn't consider running. Rather the straw that would break the camel's back is the response of the local Democrats. Recall I said that the tradition of corporate welfare is a bipartisan one. In the midst of this crisis, the leaders of the local Democratic Party, supposedly the party of the working men and women, refuse to turn their back on this city's history of corporate welfare. Not a single local elected Democrat has asked for an investigation of the CIB, reform of the CIB, or that the CIB not give the Pacers $15 million more of taxpayers money when the CIB is already in the hole $32 million. The reason they don't is that they suffer from what we in law call "unclean hands." They're as dirty as the Republicans when it comes to these corporate giveaways.

I don't know yet if I will be a candidate in 2011. Certainly there are plenty of men and women of talent that could also fill the position more ably than the current Mayor and I hope I would be included on that list.

But whoever the next Indianapolis Mayor is, I am convinced it needs to be someone, Republican, Democrat or Libertarian, who will finally stand up for the working men and women of this city and against the corporate welfare mentality that has dominated the last three decades of this city's politics, under both Democratic and Republican leadership. It needs to be someone who will stand up for real ethics reform and honesty in government. That person is clearly not going to be Mayor Greg Ballard, despite his campaign promises and election night statement that his election brought to an end country club politics in Indianapolis. It's also just as evident, given an enormous opportunity to embrace populism with the CIB crisis, the Democrats do not intend to deviate from their own tradition of elitist history.

We clearly need a new kind of politics here in Indianapolis. It is time Indianapolis politicians put the interests of the people first instead of their corporate benefactors. That needs to begin in 2011.


Diana Vice said...

Let me know where I can send the campaign contribution.


I'm so glad to hear you say this publicly Paul.

I hope people will write to you and offer their support. I know you'll get a lot of it.

I also know you can win.

I know said...

You have my support

Freedom Fighter said...

I would like to volunteer. Just let me know when you decide.

Leslie Sourwine said...

I'll help raise campaign funds as well as donate. It's about time someone got into office that says what they mean and means what they say! Couldn’t find a better candidate Paul, Indy needs new blood that's not tainted with corporate welfare.

Leslie Sourwine says, you go PAUL

I know said...

Is it time to fire up the campaign run after this last weeks events and further selling of the city?

Shane said...

Mr. Ogden has beat me in a previous primary election. I am already supporting Melina Kennedy. But, Paul when you are right; you're right. You are one hundred percent correct in your statements about the CIB, and Mayor Ballard's campaign contributions from city contractors.

Shane Brinkman