Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Cancer In the Marion County Republican Party

The unpopular ACS parking deal is quickly becoming the Republicans' version of former Mayor Bart Peterson's COIT tax increase just months before the 2007 election. At least though with the COIT increase there was the claim that it was needed for a good cause - public safety. The ACS parking deal appears to the public, and to experts who have examined the deal, to be a horribly one-sided deal that makes a politically-connected contractor wealthy while giving the taxpayers the shaft

I'm not surprised by the public firestorm against the deal. What I do find noteworthy, and troubling, is that, despite the unpopularity of the proposal and that it could doom Ballard's re-election and the Republican majority on the Council, the deal is still being pushed forward. That to me speaks volumes about how much certain insiders care about Republican success in the 2011 municipal elections.

Starting Election Night November 6, 2007, insiders began scheming to get close to the man who was elected running as an outsider. During his victory speech, Ballard even talked about ending "country club politics" in Indianapolis. Just weeks later those who actually worked for Ballard's election were shocked to find themselves locked out of the transition by Barnes & Thornburg partner Bob Grand. Several told me that when they complained to Mayor-Elect Ballard he responded saying he was couldn't do anything. Ballard said he had signed a contract with Barnes & Thornburg to do his transition and that, in exchange for doing the transition for free, he had agreed not to interfere with the decisions that were made. Given how incredibly naive Ballard was, and still is, about politics, it is a very believable story.

It could have been different. Instead of using the Mayor's election to make themselves and their friends wealthier, the political operatives who took over the Ballard administration- people like Grand, Joe Loftus and GOP Chairman Tom John - could have used the surprise victory to help rebuild the Republican party locally. The election of populist candidate Ballard gave the local GOP the perfect opening to make the party more appealing to working men and women, the so-called Reagan Democrats that helped the Gipper win two landslide elections. The Republican Party in Marion County simply cannot win elections any more running as a 1990s elitist, country club organization in a solid majority Democratic county. The Goldsmith days are over.

The people who sold out the Marion County Republican Party, the people who chose profits over helping a political novice govern, need to hit the door. Their selfish acts will have set back the fortunes of the Marion County Republican Party by 20 years. People like Grand, Loftus and John are nothing more than a cancer to the party, a cancer that needs to be cut out out if the Marion County GOP is going to have any chance to survive and thrive in the future.


Bob Cardwell said...

Excellent analysis!!!!

Had Enough Indy? said...

"Several told me that when they complained to Mayor-Elect Ballard he responded saying he was couldn't do anything. Ballard said he had signed a contract with Barnes & Thornburg to do his transition and that, in exchange for doing the transition for free, he had agreed not to interfere with the decisions that were made."

That's downright chilling.


As one of the key activists that helped Ballard win the election and who was there to watch the whole thing play out, I completely agree.

Like a fool, Ballard sold his power and sold us (The People) out.

It takes courage to own one's own power. We were snookered into thinking the Marine had courage.

dcrutch said...

I'm not so sure another elected "outsider" might not have made the same mistake. Many, myself included, spout about wanting somebody that will put constituency and the issues before party or personal enrichment. If I might as well dream the tooth fairy leaves a gold bar under my pillow, then so be it for my naivate.

But, maybe it's possible to elect "citizen-candidates", but there has to be more forethought as to whom to hire to do the necessary legal transitions, and many other things that go with being a mayor of the 13th(?) largest city.

You lawyers tell me. This is an impossible request? Is it possible to get legal experience to run the city for a fair price who aren't compromised, going to compromise the mayor or citizens, and actually care about looking long term and realizing a thriving city feathers their nest as well?

Either everybody is crooked or there's too little expertise among those who aren't?

What changed that (20 years ago?) we could have a hole in the ground downtown because it was commonly recognized that we couldn't afford to build anything? Why now do we rebuild hospitals, create new sports stadiums and palacial libraries, while graduating only half the downtown kids, reducing library hours, and letting our infrastructure crumble?

Is it possible to get back to fiscal common sense, given the need for civic legal support that will work for a fair wage, but not also demand a pound of flesh?

Does the local Republican party realize that if they don't embrace the opportunity the angry mass of voters are giving them, then they face being swept away by a re-energized Democratic party, a disgusted "tea-party" bloc- or likely both?

Anybody reading columns regarding voter anger lately? Call it "tea-party" or call it upset people, or whatever you want. 88% of Republicans, 74% of Independents, and 44% of Democrats agree with the Tea-Party number one goal of reduced federal goverment. THAT goal is THE issue 45% of them want, according to another poll (all this from a WSJ article). All the remaining issues (immigration, gun abortion, gun control, whatever) are in single digits.

Earth to Tom John: The majority of America wants less government. What do you think these people think about the prospect of paying for a new $1.5M scoreboard for the Pacers (at least partially out of property taxes), while our jobs go overseas, our streets crumble, and kids don't get educated?

You think the average Indianapolis resident is happy with a mayoral administration and a local Republican party that makes such decisions in the present national mood?

dcrutch said...

Corrections: "naivete" and " gun control, abortion, ..."