Friday, August 6, 2010

The Politics of Ticking off the Police

The news you probably won't see in the Star for at least another week is that a major feud has broken out between Public Safety Director Frank (Please call me "Doctor") Straub and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana first reported on the feud part of which was picked up by Sandra Chapman of WTHR. Also, yesterday the IMPD voted down a new four year contract by a 6-1 margin.

You probably won't see news of the fued in the Star for another week. The news and facts the Star's editors choose to report continue to be shaped the editorial slant of the paper. The Star steadfastly refused to report all the facts on the Wishard deal, including that taxpayers are indeed on the hook should Health & Hospital decide they don't want to pay for the hospital out of their operating funds. The Star insisted on accepting as true the $20 million penalty claim suggested by the CIB & Pacers for the Pacers breaking the existing contract, when they could produce no proof the penalty was only $20 million. When it came to the utility deal, the Star refused to acknowledge the critics' point that the city's debt wasn't erased, it would still have to be paid for by the public which owns Citizen's. Plus, the Star simply ignored the fact that Citizen's would be taking out a 30 year loan to pay the purchase price for the utilities, which borrowed money was going to be funnelled into infrastructure improvements lasting maybe 10 years.

But I digress. In this blog I like to talk about politics, and today's topic is the politics of ticking off the police. While a sitting Mayor can win election with the police supporting the other candidate, it's quite another thing when a Mayor so ticks off the police that law enforcement officers, as well as their friends and family, start voting as a bloc against the Mayor. Almost any Mayor facing this situation is in political trouble.

I have yet to see any evidence that Mayor Ballard has anyone around him who understands politics. If Ballard doesn't think he's courting political trouble by supporting Straub in a bitter fued against IMPD, then he's even more politically clueless than he's demonstrated for 2 1/2 years. That would be as politically foolish as a Republican mayor taking on gun activists who loyally vote Republican. Wait... Ballard has also done that too.


Cato said...

Why do Republicans rail against unions while simultaneously ignoring that the cops are the biggest and most powerful union?

More Republican hypocrisy.

anonymous said...

You'd think Ballard would remember the huge part that the police played in helping him to get elected in the first place. Bart Peterson was smugly sure he could spit on the police and other city workers and still get re-elected.

Sean Shepard said...

@Cato. I might argue that the Teacher's Unions are more powerful than the police union.

The police have (from what I hear) thus far been much happier under Ballard than they were under Peterson, destroying that good will isn't wise.

Of course, I'm still laughing at the self-important arrogance of "call me doctor" ... reminds me of that clip where Barbara Boxer dresses down a general because he called her "ma'am" instead of "Senator".


Paul K. Ogden said...


No Republican was more skilled at getting labor support than Ronald Reagan.

I'd like to see my Republican party be more pro-labor...not pro-union but more pro-labor. The GOP loses when it can't attract blue collar, working class voters.

Downtown Indy said...

Reagan was a card-carrying union man himself.