Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review: Spanking City Hall by Indianapolis Author Melyssa Hubbard

This past week, I had an opportunity to read Melyssa Hubbard's (formerly Donaghy) new book, Spanking City Hall which this week has become available to the public.  I've known Melyssa for several years.  I probably first met her in the Fall of 2008 after I started my Ogden on Politics blog.  In the blog I had started to publicize my disillusionment with the administration of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.  Elected as a populist, tea party, limited government Republican, Mayor Ballard turned out to be the direct opposite of Candidate Ballard  I remember so well that election night in 2007 thinking we had done something special in defeating incumbent Mayor Bart Peterson and electing someone who owed nothing to the elite, country club types who controlled this city.  That is when I learned the lesson you can win an election but lose the transition.

While my disillusionment with Ballard was growing in 2008, I was nevertheless eager to to meet the key figure who had instigated a taxpayer revolt that had toppled Mayor Bart Peterson, the formerly popular Democratic mayor.  Indeed the populist revolt Melyssa led in the summer of 2007 gave birth to the Indiana Tea Party.   As a Republican, I have always held to the belief that the success of the GOP was in the ability to reach every day working men and women, not kowtowing to wealthy elites.   Melyssa understand not only the power of populism but also embraced a libertarian live-and-let-live philosophy that was growing in popularity among young Republicans.

At some point, I learned of Melyssa's colorful background as a professional dominatrix.  To her credit, she never shied away from her past and has always offered comparison between that profession and politics.  Without Melyssa's back story and having no knowledge of the dominance and submission lifestyle, I admit I had difficulty grasping how the two relate.  In Melyssa's book, Spanking City Hall, she connects the dots.

Spanking City Hall is the portrait of a young woman finding her way through life, not only being influenced by the environment around her, but influencing that environment of.  Living in a small town growing up, Melyssa was sexually abused as a child.  In the book, she openly discusses that past as well as paints a portrait of how she slowly became intrigued by the dominance and submission (abbreviated as D/s in the book) lifestyle first as a hobby and a later briefly as a way of making a living.  Before Spanking City Hall I, undoubtedly like most people, thought the D/s subject referred to kinky bedroom sex.  I was surprised to learn through Melyssa's book that the subject was instead about how people interrelate to each other.  Some people apparently enjoy ceding power to another person, doing all sorts of menial tasks for their masters at their beck and whim.  The book details submissives doing all sorts of non-sexual, domestic chores for their mistresses, things like cleaning the house and washing dishes.  The tasks can be downright gross.  The book talks about one submissive who failed to clean a bathroom properly and was ordered by a dominatrix named Claudia (who lived briefly with Melyssa) to lick the toilet inside and out...which he proceeded to do.

Melyssa's life took another turn when the morning of May 8, 2003 she was awakened by knocking at
Melyssa Hubbard, Author of
Spanking City Hall
her door.  On the stoop was Jack Rinehart, the crime beat reporter for Channel 6 who informed her that there had been a police investigation of her property.  It turns out that one of Melyssa's clients was an undercover vice officer who had booked a session with Melyssa only to learn that her D/s sessions didn't involve sex.  Although there was nothing criminal uncovered in the investigation, City officials apparently decided to leak the news of the investigation.  Melyssa invited Rinehart in, sans cameras, and allowed him to view the dungeon she had established in her basement.  Rinehart's piece ran during sweeps weeks.

A few years later, the Peterson administration tried a new tack, pursuing Melyssa for a zoning violation. Represented by local attorney Mark Small, the zoning prosecution failed and was ultimately dismissed by the City.  Nonetheless, that small victory in a clash with city hall gave led to a political crusade.  In 2007, property tax assessments in Marion County were soaring, particularly for those with older homes.   In Melyssa's neighborhood of Meridian-Kessler some residents were facing tax bills that had as much as tripled.  People were outraged. It was at that point that Mayor Peterson made what proved to be the fatal political mistake of pushing for a 65% increase in the county option income tax just months before the November 2007 election.

For me, a political junkie, the most fascinating part of the book is Melyssa describing her political work.  She details how she rode her bike throughout her neighborhood (similar to Paul Revere riding his horse through the streets of Boston) to try to rally the neighborhood to oppose taxes that could cost them their homes.   At first Melyssa's efforts was met with indifference by her neighbors, but through her persistence she eventually turned things around with hundreds of protesters turning out to rally against taxes at the Governor's mansion, the Mayor's home, and Monument Circle.  Probably the most effective rally though was the one held during the summer of of 2007 when tax protesters attempted to attend the Mayor's presentation of the budget to the Indianapolis City-County Council.  The presence of tax protesters so rattled Mayor Bart Peterson that he attempted to lock them out in favor of city employees who would be supportive of his budget presentation.  Melyssa made sure that she not only got the protesters inside but also that the Mayor's attempts to lock out the public would be the story on evening news.

The political highlight of the book though was that day in 2007 when a group of elderly citizens assisted by one young man lowered an oversized tea bag filled with property tax assessments from a bridge into the Central Canal running through the heart of Indianapolis.  This is the time many people claim the Indiana Tea Party was born.

The book has a very helpful "glossary of people, places and terms" at the end   I wish every book contained such a glossary, but unfortunately few do.   While the practice is to place a glossary at the back of the book, my preference is for the front so the reader does not get to the end of the book, as I did, only to find this helpful tool was available.

In Spanking City Hall, Melyssa Hubbard tells the story of a young woman who left a life of sexual abuse in a small town to become a big city dominatrix.  If that were not enough of a colorful tale, the book then takes another turn, detailing her transformation from the life of a dungeon master to a political activist who leads a tax revolt that helps defeat a popular Mayor tin one of the biggest upsets in Indiana political history.  Spanking City Hall is an enjoyable read, a fascinating tale of a woman's metamorphosis during her journey through life.

Spanking City Hall can be ordered by going to the author's website.


Melyssa Hubbard said...

Everyone is invited to attend my book launch tonight (Wednesday March 26)

435 Mass Avenue
Tonos Triad is on the stage

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

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