Thursday, December 22, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Charlie White not legally Secretary of State

BREAKING NEWS: Marion County Circuit Court rules that Charlie White was not a legally-registered voter, and thus ineligible to be Secretary of State. The Court orders Vop Osili certified as Secretary of State. The Court Order is here (PDF file):

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Continuing Saga of Charlie White

In the latest development in the soap opera that is Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White, Judge Nation in Hamilton Superior Court denied White's Motion to Dismiss the indictments against him.   The case will now go to trial at the end of January before a jury of Hamilton County citizens.

Lest the casual reader think that Charlie White is the victim of a partisan vendetta, let me remind said reader of the following:

1.  The elected Republican prosecutor asked a Republican Judge to convene a special grand jury and to appoint a special prosecutor.
2.  Said Republican Judge did just that, and appointed two special prosecutors, one Republican and one Democrat.
3.  A Grand Jury of Hamilton County citizens heard evidence, including witnesses suggested by White, and returned an indictment on 7 felony counts, including vote fraud, fraudulent voter registration, theft, mortgage fraud, and perjury.
4.  The case is pending before a Republican Judge who is also a former Hamilton County Prosecutor. 
5.  Virtually every prominent Republican in the State, from Governor Daniels on down, has called for White to step down from his office.

If anyone sees a partisan vendetta here, please point it out.  Republicans have been in control of virtually the entire process.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In Memoriam

Totally off the usual topic of this blog, my father, James G. Purvis, passed away today after a long illness.  An Army veteran of the Korean War era (Dad was overseas, but didn't make it to Korea), he passed on his curiosity about nearly everything to me, and a deep and abiding interest in social justice.

RIP Dad.  You can rest now.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thomas Jefferson and banks

Many of the leaders of our country in the early days were suspicious of the powers of banks.  In that day, they issued their own paper money (the US did not until the Civil War) and held most public debt.  As modern Americans have learned, sometimes they exercise a great deal of power, both political and financial. 

As a second installment of a series of Jefferson quotes, I am posting a collection of bank-related statements by Jefferson, mostly from his letters.  Some of his ideas I think are outmoded, such as his preference for "hard money" (gold and silver), but his adversion to banks would seem to have much in common with the Occupy Wall Street supporters.  I hope you find these thought-provoking.

Everything predicted by the enemies of banks, in the beginning, is now coming to pass. We are to be ruined now by the deluge of bank paper. It is cruel that such revolutions in private fortunes should be at the mercy of avaricious adventurers, who, instead of employing their capital, if any they have, in manufactures, commerce, and other useful pursuits, make it an instrument to burden all the interchanges of property with their swindling profits, profits which are the price of no useful industry of theirs.

Letter to Thomas Cooper, 1814.
Put down the banks, and if this country could not be carried through the longest war against her most powerful enemy without ever knowing the want of a dollar, without dependence on the traitorous classes of her citizens, without bearing hard on the resources of the people, or loading the public with an indefinite burden of debt, I know nothing of my countrymen. Not by any novel project, not by any charlatanerie, but by ordinary and well-experienced means; by the total prohibition of all private paper at all times, by reasonable taxes in war aided by the necessary emissions of public paper of circulating size, this bottomed on special taxes, redeemable annually as this special tax comes in, and finally within a moderate period.

Letter to Albert Gallatin, 1815
The system of banking we have both equally and ever reprobated. I contemplate it as a blot left in all our constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their destruction, which is already hit by the gamblers in corruption, and is sweeping away in its progress the fortunes and morals of our citizens.

Letter to John Taylor (28 May 1816)
Certainly no nation ever before abandoned to the avarice and jugglings of private individuals to regulate according to their own interests, the quantum of circulating medium for the nation — to inflate, by deluges of paper, the nominal prices of property, and then to buy up that property at 1s. in the pound, having first withdrawn the floating medium which might endanger a competition in purchase. Yet this is what has been done, and will be done, unless stayed by the protecting hand of the legislature. The evil has been produced by the error of their sanction of this ruinous machinery of banks; and justice, wisdom, duty, all require that they should interpose and arrest it before the schemes of plunder and spoliation desolate the country.

Letter to William C. Rives (1819)
If the debt which the banking companies owe be a blessing to anybody, it is to themselves alone, who are realizing a solid interest of eight or ten per cent on it. As to the public, these companies have banished all our gold and silver medium, which, before their institution, we had without interest, which never could have perished in our hands, and would have been our salvation now in the hour of war; instead of which they have given us two hundred million of froth and bubble, on which we are to pay them heavy interest, until it shall vanish into air... We are warranted, then, in affirming that this parody on the principle of 'a public debt being a public blessing,' and its mutation into the blessing of private instead of public debts, is as ridiculous as the original principle itself. In both cases, the truth is, that capital may be produced by industry, and accumulated by economy; but jugglers only will propose to create it by legerdemain tricks with paper.

ME 13:423
The art and mystery of banks... is established on the principle that 'private debts are a public blessing.' That the evidences of those private debts, called bank notes, become active capital, and aliment the whole commerce, manufactures, and agriculture of the United States. Here are a set of people, for instance, who have bestowed on us the great blessing of running in our debt about two hundred millions of dollars, without our knowing who they are, where they are, or what property they have to pay this debt when called on; nay, who have made us so sensible of the blessings of letting them run in our debt, that we have exempted them by law from the repayment of these debts beyond a give proportion (generally estimated at one-third). And to fill up the measure of blessing, instead of paying, they receive an interest on what they owe from those to whom they owe; for all the notes, or evidences of what they owe, which we see in circulation, have been lent to somebody on an interest which is levied again on us through the medium of commerce. And they are so ready still to deal out their liberalities to us, that they are now willing to let themselves run in our debt ninety millions more, on our paying them the same premium of six or eight per cent interest, and on the same legal exemption from the repayment of more than thirty millions of the debt, when it shall be called for.

ME 13:420
That we are overdone with banking institutions which have banished the precious metals and substituted a more fluctuating and unsafe medium, that these have withdrawn capital from useful improvements and employments to nourish idleness, that the wars of the world have swollen our commerce beyond the wholesome limits of exchanging our own productions for our own wants, and that, for the emolument of a small proportion of our society who prefer these demoralizing pursuits to labors useful to the whole, the peace of the whole is endangered and all our present difficulties produced, are evils more easily to be deplored than remedied.

Letter to Abbe Salimankis (1810) ME 12:379 The Writings of Thomas Jefferson "Memorial Edition" (20 Vols., 1903-04) edited by Andrew A. Lipscomb and Albert Ellery Bergh, Vol. 12, p. 379; also quoted at "Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government : Money & Banking" at University of Virginia.

Note:  "ME" refers to the "Memorial Edition" of the writings of Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thomas Jefferson

I have recently completed reading the collected works of Thomas Jefferson, and will from time to time post quotes of his for discussion.  I think the following below is one of his more insightful, and all too relevant to our present day circumstances.


Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, liberals and serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, whigs and tories, republicans and federalists, aristocrats and democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last appellation of aristocrats and democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.
-- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Henry Lee (10 August 1824)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Knee-Jerk voting, part 2

I have had a couple of days to recover from the stress and exhaustion leading up to Election Day.  And I have a few thoughts about that experience, which I will share in this and future posts.

The most dismaying part of this experience was seeing first-hand something I had previously written about, knee-jerk voting.  What I mean by that is that a voter who knows, and cares, nothing about who the candidates are, what the issues are or the candidate's positions on those issues, but only cares about what party label they bear. 

I had up-close and personal views of that Tuesday, greeting voters at several polling places.  Despite several years in the public eye, many voters didn't have a clue who I was or what my positions were on local issues.  I had a web site, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account, and anyone who Googled me would come up with plenty of material to satisfy their curiosity.  I had been in the news more than once (prior to the Indianapolis Star all but abandoning news coverage in Hamilton County), in various radio interviews, and even in TV news spots. 

What mattered to most of them was whether or not I was a Republican.  Now, I have my share of voters who are Republican who took the trouble to check me out or who know me personally support me, so what I am saying is decidedly NOT an indictment of all things Republican.  Nor am I critical of those who did become informed and decided to vote for my opponent (whom I like by the way). 

What upsets me, deeply, is the thought that ONLY PARTY LABEL MATTERS.  Of the just over 5000 (out of about 35,000 registered voters) who cast a ballot, just over 3000 cast a straight Republican ticket.  My highly unscientific observation is that a significant number of those folks didn't have a clue.  I had conversations with multiple individuals that went something like this:

      "I like what you have to say, and you seem like a really nice guy, but I can't vote for you because you aren't a Republican.  Why don't you switch parties?"

      "Who are you and what party are you?" asked as I handed them a palm card which was a replica of my bright red-and-white campaign sign, which were all over town.  "I am a Democrat", said I, and the voter gave me a weak smile and walked into the polls with a weak, "Sorry".

      "I wouldn't vote for a Democrat, even if all the Republicans were convicted criminals" ... a statement remarkably close to the situation which got us our current Secretary of State.

      And my personal favorite, "I know who you are, and I wouldn't vote for you if you were the last man on Earth", said with obvious anger in full view of my opponent's volunteers, who were shocked.  At least that man, and I have no idea who he was, knew who he was voting for and why.  But in the unlikely event he reads this, an anger management course might be a good idea.

I also got an email from a prominent, and usually friendly, Republican suggesting that I switch parties.  My sharper-than-usual reply was along the lines that I did not think that a socially progressive Obama supporter would be especially welcome in the GOP. 

I have no problem with someone choosing not to vote for me based on disagreement with my real views affecting the office I am running for.  That is what elections are supposed to be about.  But voting based just on party label, when you don't have a clue otherwise makes me shudder for democracy. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Pre-Election Message to the Voters of Fishers

Election Day is next Tuesday.  Voters in Fishers have the opportunity to make some real changes in their local government.   There will be 3 new members of the Town Council, a judge for the brand-new Town Court, and possibly a new Clerk-Treasurer. 
The 2011 local elections in Fishers may be the most important in the history of our rapidly-growing community.  Twenty years ago, we had one-tenth the population we do now.  With that growth in population came new challenges.  
Frankly, I believe that Fishers has outgrown a "town" form of government that is well-suited for small communities where everyone knows everyone else, but not for the large City that Fishers has grown into.  We need a Mayor with vision to keep attracting businesses and jobs, and to keep our taxes low by growing the tax base.   We need a Mayor elected by the people of Fishers.  And we need a Council which supports that vision.  The council also needs to bring their activities more into the open, and stop having meetings and "work sessions" out of view of the citizens.  The council needs to do a better job of reaching out to citizens and involving them in decisions, and in listening to their concerns, rather than being developer-driven.  And the council needs to allow public comment and input at EVERY meeting, not just when it is legally required.
I have pushed hard for nearly 5 years to make this vision of Fishers as a real City of the 21st Century come true.  I believe most people in Fishers support that vision, regardless of political party.  I ask for your support on Tuesday, November 8th, so that I can continue fighting for the future of Fishers. 
Greg Purvis
Candidate, Fishers Town Council,
District 4

Authorized by Purvis for Fishers Committee

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Candidate debate tonight

The Hamilton County League of Women Voters is sponsoring a candidate forum for Fishers Town Council, Town Court Judge, and Clerk-Treasurer candidates tonight, October 4th, at 7pm at Fishers Town Hall.  Questions for the candidates will come from the audience.  If you are a Fishers voter, please come and be informed. 

The League is also sponsoring debates in Westfield on October 19th and Noblesville on October 26th.   For more information, please go to the League's website,

I am a candidate for Fishers Town Council,, but apart from that, this strikes me as just good citizenship to get as much information about local candidates as possible. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

The leaving of the Levines

I just got back from a 2 week vacation, and Fishers residents and prominent Republican office-holders Art and Judy Levine have announced that they are leaving Fishers, resigning their respective offices, and moving to California.   Art Levine is a member of the Fishers Town Council and Judy is a member, and former President, of the Hamilton County Council.

Art and I have always gotten along pretty well, even though we were election opponents in 2007.  Art survived a nasty Republican primary where a lot of unpleasant things were said about him personally by members of his own party, and he seemed grateful that I did not campaign that way, but stayed issue-oriented.  We have always seemed to communicate well, even when we disagreed on policy.

Likewise, I always have gotten along with Judy Levine, whom Art describes as "the politician in the family".  Judy is a very pleasant and sharp person, and an astute politician.  With both of them, we had our disagreements about national and state policy, but often found common ground on local issues... but not always.  But it was never, EVER, personal.

The Levines have been a fixture locally for many years, and they will be missed.

But their departure leaves a power vacuum.  Under Indiana law, the Republican precinct committeepersons must meet in caucus to select Art and Judy's replacements for the balance of their term.  Art's term on the Fishers Town Council ends at the close of 2011, but Judy was just re-elected last year to a 4-year term, so her term would end at the close of 2014.

A number of names have been swatted around for Judy's seat, but no caucus has yet been set, so it may be premature to speculate on who might come out of that process.  Art's town council seat is another matter.  The current map of District Four is different than when Art won in 2007.  Based on the process that was used to select Mike Colby to replace Charlie White last fall, the person would have to live in the OLD boundaries of District Four.  So far, no one has come forth and made an announcement that they would seek to fill the remaining few months in Art's term, possibly because that person would not also be on the November ballot.

I of course am a candidate for the District Four seat in November (, but since I am not of the same political party, I am very unlikely to be selected for the interim seat.  But whomever is selected will have a chance to make some important decisions about local issues without worrying about political pressures or re-election.  And that could be the most significant part of this whole process.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Is Fishers For Sale?

Ever wonder where all the money comes from to pay for the thousands of signs of current Fishers Town Council members? This year it's easy to explain. It comes from companies and law firms who do business with the town.

One way that some candidates avoid a lot of public scrutiny about where their campaign funds come from is to use one or more Political Action Committees (PACs) to funnel contributions through.  For example, if an officeholder wants to avoid being seen in the pocket of special interests, he or she sets up one or more PACs to accept contributions.  After all, when you file a campaign finance report, a contribution from "ABC PAC" seems a lot more innocent than a bunch of money from "Big Developer" who does a lot of business  with that officeholder's government.

Nowhere is this practice more common than in Fishers, Indiana, where the incumbent members of the Town Council have a long history of such PACs.  A couple of examples are the "Good Government for Fishers PAC" and the "Future of Fishers PAC", both of which have accepted and handed out tens of thousands of dollars in contributions.  But the funny thing is, both of those PACs share a common mailing address, which just happens to be the home of council incumbent Eileen Pritchard.

And if you look at the current campaign finance reports posted on the Hamilton County website (, some disturbing facts emerge.   Lets take a look at some of those huge contributions, and who they are from.

  • SAMCO, $10,000.   SAMCO is the operations affiliate of HSE Utilities, the sewer utility for over half of Fishers. 
  • Baker and Daniels, $10,000.  B&D is a large law firm which has been paid large sums for legal work for the Town Council.
  • Bose McKinney & Evans, $5000.  Another large law firm with ties to the Town Council.
  • Barnes &Thornburg, $3500.  Another large law firm that the Town Council paid $126,500.00 last year in fees.
  • Church, Church, Hittle and Antrim, $2500.  The law firm headed by Doug Church, the Town Attorney, who has also gotten involved in local political conflict before, and who has been infamously quoted as referring to Fishers' voters as the "little people".   They were paid $120,000 last year by the Town Council.  
  • Assorted other realtors, developers, and engineers with ties to local government. 
The "Future of Fishers PAC" seems to be supporting Town Council incumbents Eileen Pritchard, Scott Faultless, Stuart Easley, and incumbent Clerk-Treasurer, Linda Gaye Cordell.  They also seem to be supporting non-incumbent Jason Meyer, the former President of the Fall Creek Township Board who was defeated for re-election last year, but after that defeat, fronted the "sham city" merger with Fishers and Fall Creek Township favored by the Town Council. That merger would reduce tax money going to HSE Schools.

Relatively few individuals who live in Fishers and who do NOT have "insider" ties to the current Town Council seem to be contributors.  A list of the insiders, their ties, and their contributions, would be a whole new column. In fact, the only contributor this period to Council President Scott Faultless' campaign committee is Future of Fishers PAC, over $17,000. 

So, the question naturally comes, "IS FISHERS FOR SALE?" to these special interests, who in many cases have been enriched by actions of the Town Council, and naturally, would love to keep the cash flowing in.  There is nothing OVERTLY illegal about this, however, unless it could be proven that there is a quid pro quo, an agreement to vote a certain way in return for a campaign contribution, or so-called "Pay to Play" politics. 

But, the Town Council is playing with TAXPAYER DOLLARS, not their own, although they sometimes act as if local government were their personal toy.   But for the first time in memory, nearly all of the incumbents are being challenged.  Each of the persons I have named is being challenged in the Republican primary on May 3rd.  If you are a Fishers voter, and intend to vote in the Republican primary, you might want to stop and consider if this is what you want, or not, for the future of Fishers.

[The author is a candidate for Fishers Town Council in District 4.  Unopposed in the primary, he is a November election candidate who is NOT running against a council incumbent.  For more information, go to]

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The line is growing

Fishers Town Council President Scott Faultless is famous for saying that they must be doing a good job, otherwise people would be lining up to run against them.  I wonder if he would claim that now.  With a week to go in filing for town office, every incumbent Town Council member seeking re-election, except one, has an opponent, and the long-time incumbent Clerk-Treasurer does as well.  (An editorial note here, I am a candidate, but will not be facing an incumbent.)

This is very uncommon for a community that seldom has seen a contested primary or general election for town office.  It certainly has not happened on this scale for a long time.  As noted in a prior post, the current Town Council seems to have gone out of their way in the last four years to make political enemies.

And complicating the issue is the odd way Fishers sets up its council districts.  Fishers has seven districts, and council candidates have to live in a district, and only one per district is elected.  BUT, contrary to just about every other large city, all seven districts are voted on by ALL the voters of the community, as if they were at-large.

Normally, this would discourage challengers.  Who wants to run from a community of 77,000+ as opposed to about 11,000 in a district, and run against an incumbent on top of it?  That sounds formidable.  But making people mad is a good way to motivate them to vote.  And angry voters not only turn out, they vote for change.

This is bad news for incumbents.  One incumbent actually has two primary challengers.  And with two seats with no incumbent running, there is certain to be some change in Fishers.  Time will tell how that all works out.

But in the meantime, the line is growing against the anti-democratic incumbents.  Perhaps Faultless is a prophet, just not the way he intended.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Greg Purvis for Fishers Town Council

I have officially filed my candidacy for Fishers Town Council in District 4.  While Fishers has 7 council districts, they embrace the odd system of allowing all registered voters in Fishers vote for all 7 districts.  I have often criticised this system, calling for a traditional city system where some seats are pure districts and some at large. 

I have for several years been active in community affairs in Fishers, being a member of the board of directors of my homeowners association, being a charter member of the Kiwanis Club of Geist, and being politically active and outspoken.  I have attended numerous Town Council meetings, township board meetings, and others, including the City-Town Study Committee, where I was an active member in 2009. 

Among other things, my strongest belief is that Fishers should be a real City, with a City form of government such as that which all other Indiana communities possess, with a Mayor elected by the people, and a city council with real districts.  I first called for Fishers to change to a City in January 2007.  I continued that move with the founding of CityYes, founded by citizens of all political persuasions who joined together in their common belief that becoming a City is best for the future of Fishers.  I was privileged to be CityYes' first chairman, a post I held until July 2010.  I submitted the names of 1700 registered voters of Fishers to the Town Council in May 2010, asking for a November 2010 referendum on the city-town question, but the Town Council ignored their legal duty to certify the question and still have not done so. 

I have often called for more open, transparent and responsive government in Fishers, a government not easily accountable to the voters in its current form.  When I found that former Town Council member Charlie White had moved out of his district, an act by which he forfeited office when it happened, and had illegally continued to act as a Town Council member, I conducted my own investigation, held a news conference, and forced his resignation.  As it appeared to me that White had also committed voter fraud as part of his cover-up, I met my legal duty as an attorney, by reporting the facts I had found to the Prosecutor's Office, and asked that a special prosecutor be appointed and a Grand Jury convened.  Two special prosecutors were appointed, and I understand that a Grand Jury may be held in February. 

Further, I have often appeared at Town Council meetings and questioned their spending and other actions.  Fully 15% of the 2010 Fishers budget went to debt service, which is cause for concern.  I have also questioned the council's willingness to pledge public money, often in the form of TIF districts, to projects that ultimately do not get off the ground.  I pledge to be prudent and careful in spending tax dollars, and to try to limit debt being incurred by Fishers.  I would also have a higher threshold for pledging public money to private business ventures, without some high degree of expectation both of success and of public benefit. 

My election to the Town Council will bring an honest outsider's voice and new blood to the Town Council.  I ask for the support of all Fishers residents who are concerned for the future of this community.   Please visit my website at to learn more, volunteer, or make a contribution. 

Greg Purvis