Friday, August 27, 2010

Marion County Republican Chairman Tom John Throws Mayor Ballard Under the Political Bus for Attorney's Fees

From the beginning, the administration of Mayor Greg Ballard has been dominated by "profiteers" people, chiefly Republicans, who have used Ballard's upset win as an opportunity to line their pockets with cash. To me those "profiteers" are the worst kind of Republicans. Mayor Ballard's election could have been used as a springboard to rebuild the Marion County GOP. Instead we have people like Bob Grand, Joe Loftus, David Brooks, Paul Okeson and a host of others who for 2 1/2 years led the politically-naive Mayor around by the collar continually steering him in the direction of doing things that are incredibly poltically stupid and which will result not only in his own resounding re-election defeat but also the loss of the Republican majority on the Council.

Today's profiteer I will focus on is Marion County GOP - Republican County Chairman Tom John.

Whether or not the administration's parking plan is a good idea or not is open to debate. I think any privatization contract of 50 years is nothing short of insane. Nonetheless, let's take whether it makes sense to do the contract out of the equation, and just talk about the politics of the plan and the likely effect it will have on the Mayor's re-election effort.

There is no scenario by which the parking plan can be spun into a political positive by the Mayor's people. The Mayor will get hammered for doubling parking rates and contracting with ACS which failed miserably at the FSSA privatization. These are slam dunk soundbites, easily explanable issues people can grasp and relate to.

When he gets hit by the negative ads about the parking deal how is the Mayor going to respond? Does he really think he can sell the message that people needed their parking rates doubled because the rates hadn't been raised in so long? Even if you could get that lengthy explanation in a modern soundbite, it is an explanation that will never fly with a huge segment of the public. People aren't sitting at home thinking "I wish the City would charge more for me to park downtown."

You're going to two types of responses to the parking plan: 1) those who aren't bothered by the increase. They won't vote on the issue because they don't care; 2) those who are bothered by the increase. Many of those people will vote on the issue. In other words, it's not a "voting issue" for the pro-increase; it is a "voting issue" for those who oppose it. Plus every time a person has to feed the meter more money after the increase, he or she will be reminded of the man who cost them more money to park- Mayor Greg Ballard. It's a terrific issue for the Democrats.

The one Republican in the county, more than any other, who should be steering the Mayor away from this foolish election year eve plan is Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John. So what is John doing?

He's profiteering. Tom John and other attorneys at his law firm Ice Miller have billed the City $451,568.14 for working on the parking plan. At $350 an hour, that is an incredible 1290 hours of time. One has to wonder if anyone at the City is auditing the time sheets of the Ice Miller attorneys.

Unbelievably the City has already agreed to pay 75% of the Ice Miller bill even if the Council doesn't approve the Contract.

Tom John owes a duty to the Republican Party of Marion County to pursue a political course that is likely to result in a favorable result come Election Day. That duty conflicts with John's desire to make more money for himself and his law firm by pushing the Mayor to contract with ACS. It is apparent that when it came to that conflict, John's desire to profiteer won out over doing what is best for the Marion County GOP.


Marycatherine Barton said...

I would bet that the "City" does not audit the time sheets of the Ice Miller attorneys, it bills us workers, us taxpayers, incredible sums that they are. Somebody pleasse prove me wrong.

Indy Student said...

I'm not a math person, but 1290 hours is EIGHTY days.

If done by a 9-5 eight hour workday, it's 161 days and change.

Nicolas Martin said...

There are a few things a “first class” city needs. Among them are pro sports team welfare cases, cops who protect their own, and obscenely high parking rates.

Downtown Indy said...

Matt, I accept your disclaimer. ;-)

It is 161.25 8-hour days; 32.25 40-hour weeks; 4 people for 8 weeks.

However you slice it, that's a lot of cabbage. And like cabbage, it smells very peculiar.

I am confident the timesheets for their billing will be scrutinized just as carefully as were Monroe Gray's timecards.

Cato said...

"Tom John owes a duty to the Republican Party of Marion County to pursue a political course that is likely to result in a favorable result come Election Day."

And for what purpose do you suppose the Republicans exist, Paul?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Sorry, Cato, I do believe in the Republican Party. It has solid principles and profiteering and corporate welfare aren't in those principles.

I don't accept the assumption that what people like Grand, Loftus, etc. are doing is somehow compatible with conservative principles. If you get out among the rank and file, you'll find that they didn't joing the GOP to make money, they joined because of Republican principles.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I also don't think any attorney should be billing the City $350 an hour. The fact is the City can get quality legal services for much less than that, but they don't cap law firm fees. If you capped them at $175 an hour, you'd still legal work just as good.

The problem is the City officials don't care that City could demand much lower legal rates. Instead legal fees become a way of rewarding large law firms for political donations, money of course which comes from taxpayers in the form of inflated legal bills.

Cato said...

Principles? Really? I've never seen a statement of immutable principles from the Republicans. They leave us to think they have principles, but they never come on out and make inflexible party-level tenets.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Does anyone have a reply to Cato's lat comment? Paul?

Marycatherine Barton said...

The August, 2010, LP NEWS, which on its front page, calls itself the official newspaper of the Libertarian Party, "The Party of Principle", delivered by mail today, in a section, entitled "Meet Your 2010 Candidates, by Arthur DiBlanca, prints:

"Meet a few of the Libertarians running throughout America:"

and then he lists by state, per paragraph, and in total about Indiana, writes:

"In Indiana (Marion County), Allison Maguire and Paul Ogden are running a joint campaign for Pike Township Board of Education. Their website is Marion County contains Indianapolis, where Libertarian Ed Coleman is a council member and one of the highest-profile elected Libertarians in America."

I hope this designation of you, Paul, does not gain you an insinuating cyberbully, or two.

Paul K. Ogden said...


Republican philosophy is that of limited government...described best by Ronald Reagan when he said "Government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem."

That does not mean in EVERY case the solution is less government. That does not mean every Republican is going to hold the same belief on every issue. Those principles are general guiding principles.

Cato wants to judge the entire Republican Party by those Republicans who don't really care about GOP conservative philosophy and are just out to make a buck. I love my party and what it stands for. That's why my strongest condemnation goes to those profiteers who decided to make money off the Ballard administration rather than help the GOP regain majority status in the county.

Bill said...

I have to agree with Cato. I do not know of one single Republican in office in Marion County that I trust. They ALL lie and would sell their children for a vote. As for Tom Phishy John, well he is laughing at us right now knowing that he is getting a raise and we are bitching at him. As usual nothing will ever be done with this.

As a life long Strong Republican I can assure you that I will pull the D lever in November.

The hell with the Republican party in Marion County. This party does not even begin to look like the Rebublican party I once knew.

Yo can bitch and moan all you want, but Tom John is here to stay.As long as he brings in the cash to the law firm, he is in power.

I can also assure you that Mayor Ballard wil not get elected the nexy cycle

dcrutch said...

"inflexible party-level tenets"

In kind of a reflexive, ink-blot test reaction, I instantly thought of Nancy Pelosi. I wish I could say this is contrived, but "she's my gal".

An example that comes to mind after thinking about it, is the health care "reform" that we've been told is good for us.

My point is there are plenty of corrupt despots to go around within each party, within any layer. You picked a great local example. No disagreement there.

Thanks for the cahoonas (sp?) you've got to write this piece, Mr. Ogden.