Monday, December 17, 2012

Some thoughts on firearms

I have some disjointed thoughts of my own on the subject of firearms. As a former gun owner who learned to shoot a .22 rifle at Boy Scout camp, I see the sporting attraction to guns. BUT, America is a violent country. Always has been. And this violence is magnified by firearms.

Firearms deaths are equal to auto accident deaths. But the majority are suicides, 19,000 annually. Second is homicide, about 11,000 annually. There are both accidental deaths of children with firearms, and homicides. I wonder how many of these are just someone who snapped in a difficult domestic moment.

There is no justification at all for assault weapons in the hands of civilians. None. There is some difficulty in the definition, but that is not the point. Those weapons exist merely to kill human beings, in quantity, as rapidly as possible. Purchase, manufacture, and importing of such weapons should be banned, and the purchase of ammunition for the ones in existence taxed to the highest degree. 

A significant number of home burglaries have firearms among the property stolen. It is impossible to know if firearms owners are targeted (how would the burglar know?) or if guns are valuable because they can be bought and sold illegally with some ease, and therefore are good to steal. One suspects that many stolen guns end up being used in crimes. 

ON the other hand, if someone broke into my home, threatened me or my loved ones with violence, I would have no issue with shooting them and sending them to the Great Beyond. And I have sufficient skills to do it. But I also keep a baseball bat in the bedroom, which also could be lethal. 

I have no problem with licensing, requiring safety classes, mandatory insurance, and other reasonable measures. I am NOT in favor of a total ban on personal firearms, and the American public would not stand for it anyway. But there must be reasonable ways to limit gun violence.

And no, arming everyone would not solve the problem, the fantasy beliefs of the open-carry crowd notwithstanding. That would just end up with more corpses.

But... we have to do SOMETHING!!! The souls of twenty dead babies cry out for it. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thoughts on the 2012 election

I have given myself some time to digest the 2012 election, especially how it impacted Hamilton County.  In no particular order, I have the following thoughts:

1.  Two Democrats got over 50,000 votes each in Hamilton County.  This a previously-unmatched threshold for Democrats in this Republican stronghold. U.S. Senator-elect Joe Donnelly got 52,925 votes in Hamilton County, or 39.43% of votes cast.   Superintendent of Public Instruction-elect Glenda Ritz (a Carmel resident) got 52,777, or 39.71% of the votes cast in that race.  No other Democrat approached either those raw numbers or percentages.  By contrast, President Obama got 43,796 votes, or 31.95% of the votes cast.      

2.  The above results reflect a fairly standard base for Democratic votes (typically in the 30-35% range) in this county, except for the Donnelly and Ritz races, where some Republicans chose to vote for a Democrat, presumably because they thought the candidate of their own party was not acceptable.  However, as I have noted in prior blog posts, many Republicans would not vote for a Democrat here under any circumstances, even when the GOP candidate is under criminal investigation.  

3.  One of the hopes for Democrats to have an impact in local events showed up in Fishers after years of struggle.  A non-partisan group (CityYes) worked together for years to move Fishers to City status, over the sustained opposition of the majority of the Town Council and other political insiders.  Democrats, dissident Republicans, independents, and even those identifying with the Tea Party combined together for common purpose and in a vastly-outspent grassroots effort, not only succeeded in passing the "city-town" referendum by a 55.35% to 44.64% margin, but also soundly defeating a "reorganization" referendum that would have blocked the change to a real city with a mayor elected by the people by a 62.49% to 37.51% margin.   The "reorganization" was backed by 6 of the 7 Town Council members and funded by many insiders with business and other connections to the Council majority.  

The lesson here for Hamilton County Democrats?  Find issues or candidates with which you can have common purpose with non-Democrats.  Party labels mean less when there are real issues with a real impact in people's lives.  Showing that you want to make a difference in local events and that you are not just a blind partisan will lead some with a different party ID to take you more seriously.  And that coalition-building can have a real and lasting effect on local events.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mayor of Fishers? Thanks but no thanks.

I got approached last week at a "Future of Fishers" informational meeting at Fishers Town Hall by a couple of Republicans who said they heard a rumor that the only reason I was pushing for Fishers to be a City with an elected Mayor was so that I could run for Mayor myself.

My immediate reaction?  I started laughing.  Hard.  When I composed myself, I finally gave them the straight answer, which is, I found that flattering, but no, I have no interest in running for Mayor of Fishers.

Reasons?  Plenty.  First, whomever the first Mayor of Fishers is, will need more patience than I possess.  It will be a job for someone who has the patience of Job.  Second, I have a VERY full-time job as a practicing attorney, and I intend to retire from that sooner or later.  Third, I am a Democrat in a community where no Democrat gets over 40% of the vote, so it would be extraordinarily unlikely that I could be elected, as there are those who would not vote for a Democrat no matter what.

My interest is purely in making the government of Fishers more representative and responsive to the citizens, and better in other ways, such as economic development.  I strongly believe that the best way to do this is by Fishers becoming a real city, with a mayor elected by the people, not appointed by the council.  I continue to be involved with CityYes ( and urge all Fishers residents to support that cause.

So if you are a Fishers resident, please vote NO on Question #1 on the November ballot, the "hybrid/merger/sham city" reorganization, and YES on Question #2, for Fishers to become a REAL City with real representative government.

Questions?  Email CityYes at, or me at

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

FISHERS: The two questions

On the November 6 general election ballot, Fishers residents will be asked two questions that will determine Fishers' form of government.
The questions will appear on the ballot as follows:
  1. "Shall the Town of Fishers and Fall Creek Township reorganize as a single political subdivision?" (all voters in Fall Creek Township and all incorporated voters in Delaware Township will be able to vote on this question)
  2. "Shall the Town of Fishers change into a city?" (only incorporated voters in the Town of Fishers will be able to vote on this question)
The following table shows which form of government you are selecting by how you vote on questions 1 & 2:
Question 1
Question 2
Second Class City
Reorganized City
Reorganized City
Remains a Town
(the above was borrowed from the Town of Fishers website,

Question No. 2 is the one that 1700 registered voters in Fishers petitioned for in May 2010, before the push to move to a "reorganization" even started, at the behest of Fishers Town Council President Scott Faultless.  Faultless sat on the "city vs town" question until the reorganization process was done, despite the fact that the pro-city petitioners asked for a vote in the November 2010 election.  

In the reorganization committee, a majority of the Fall Creek Township members voted against it.  So why is this even being considered?  Because a lame-duck meeting of the former Fall Creek Township Board, with a pro-Faultless majority, adopted it as literally their last act in December 2010.

Notwithstanding THAT, the new Township Board, with Renee Cox as President, adopted a new resolution in July 2011 backing out of the reorganization.  But the county Election Board proposes to put the reorganization question on the ballot anyway.  

This is pretty much a "shotgun wedding", with the elected representatives of Fall Creek saying they want no part of it.  There are no advantages to the merger.  This annexes all of Fall Creek Township (the part actually in Noblesville creates some problems), raises taxes, KILLS THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR A MAYOR, prevents real district voting for the council, and pretty much locks this in place for the indefinite future.

But good for the Fall Creek Township Board.  They have asked the County Election Board to hear their protest that the reorganization should not be on the ballot without their approval.  The Election Board will hear this TOMORROW MORNING, Thursday, August 30, 2012, at 8:00 a.m., in the Government Center in Noblesville.  The public is welcome.

Want to elect your Mayor?  If this reorganization stays on the ballot, you will have to vote NO and then YES.  Complicated?  Yes.  IT WAS DONE ON PURPOSE TO CONFUSE THE VOTERS and to block real representative government in Fishers.  That would disturb the ruling majority on the council too much.  

Want to help elect a Mayor?  Show up at the Election Board meeting.  Go to the CityYes website,, and sign up to help, or email them at  Give a donation for expenses such as signs and handouts.  Host a neighborhood meeting with CityYes representatives.  Stand at a polling place on November 6th and pass out handouts.

Don't live in Fishers, but you believe in representative government?  Your help will be appreciated as well. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Where does Mike Pence live?

Normally, politicians learn good object lessons from the misfortunes of their fellows.  Should another candidate for office experience misfortune that causes them political or personal difficulty, they often (but not always) profit from the object lesson and learn from the mistakes of others.

It seems that Congressman Mike Pence has not learned from the lessons of Dick Lugar, David McIntosh, and yes, Charlie White, as it now has come to my attention that he too may have his own residency issues.

Pence's biography on his Congressional web site says, "Congressman Pence and his wife Karen have three children and reside in Columbus, Indiana."  Other web sites have Pence and family living in a home in Arlington, Virginia. Conflicting slightly with this is Pence's campaign biography, which states, "Mike and his wife Karen have been married for 26 years, live in Columbus, Indiana, and currently rent a house in McCordsville for professional reasons."

It has been learned from reliable sources that one of Congressman Pence's children is enrolled in Hamilton Southeastern Schools in Fishers.  Presumably, that means the Pence family is actually living at the McCordsville rental in Hamilton County, which would be within the Hamilton Southeastern school district.  

The problem?  Congressman Pence is not registered to vote where he and his family appear to be living.  I have confirmed that he is registered to vote in Bartholomew County.  I have not been able to learn if the Pence family moved to Hamilton County prior to the May 2012 primary.   

As I pointed out in a prior post on former Congressman McIntosh's residency issue, Indiana law generally is that your residency for voting purposes is where your family lives.  Indiana Code 3-5-5-11 provides:

The place where a person's immediate family resides is the person's residence, unless the family's residence is: 

(1) a temporary location for the person's immediate family; or

(2) for transient purposes.
I don't know what the "professional reasons" are that Pence is claiming for renting his Hamilton County home, but it may in fact be a lot more personal, as Hamilton Southeastern Schools is one of the state's top school districts.  Quite possibly he just wants his child to attend the best possible school.

Pence has time to change his voter registration.  But like other politicos named above, he seems to think that he can play some shell game about where he lives and where he votes and play "fool the voter" and no big deal.

Pence was under attack earlier (as were Lugar and McIntosh) for really living in Virginia while in Congress for the last 12 years.  That part of the lesson he seems to have learned.  So in the meantime, welcome to my corner of Indiana to the Pence family, and let's see if this ambitious politician cleans up this mess before he gets himself into REAL trouble over this, and becomes the next Charlie White.
NOTE:  This post has been edited at the specific request of the Pence campaign to protect the privacy of the child mentioned.  The original reference did not include the name or gender of the child, but I agreed to make the reference even more general.  Comment is being solicited from Congressman Pence and his campaign on the residency issues raised.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gregg Donnelly Reske Open Fishers Office

The Combined Campaign of Democratic candidate for Governor John Gregg, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Joe Donnelly and Fifth District Congressional candidate Scott Reske have opened a regional campaign office in Fishers, located in the Marsh shopping center on the northeast corner of 116th St. and Allisonville Road.  The address is 11649 Fishers Station Dr.

In 2008, Obama for America created a stir by opening a Fishers office in the same area for the primary, then again in the fall.  That was the first time a Democratic presidential candidate had opened a Hamilton County office in living memory.  Obama later opened offices in Carmel, Noblesville, and Westfield.   The Obama campaign reportedly is still considering opening a Hamilton County office this year.

Likewise this office appears to be a first for Hamilton County, long considered a Republican stronghold.  However, as I have previously noted, Hamilton County has also become attractive to Democratic statewide and Congressional candidates due to its size.   Hamilton County is capable of producing north of 40,000 votes for these candidates, which is one of the largest potential sources of Democratic votes in the state.  It is therefore a logical choice for these candidates to locate here.

I am informed that the campaigns will host regular phonebanking and canvassing from this office.  Potential volunteers are invited to stop in any day between 10 am and 8 pm. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Susan Brooks - PANTS ON FIRE

It is common political practice these days when running for Congress to bash Congress as an institution and especially if one is running against an incumbent.

Which makes me surprised that GOP Fifth District Congressional candidate Susan Brooks went out of her way to state something blatantly false about Congress and the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare").  In a handout on her website, Brooks makes this statement:

One strong criticism of the Affordable Health Care Act is that Congress attempted to exempt itself from compliance, which is a strong signal to Americans that Congress does not have to live by the same rules.
The link is here:

The problem is, it is completely false.  Members of Congress ARE governed by Obamacare, under Section 1312 of the Act.  The Congressional Research Service was asked to look into this, and concluded:

the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are--
(I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or
(II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).
The report is here:

Other than perceived political gain from bashing Obamacare, why would Brooks utter such a blatant falsehood?  This may be appealing to her right-wing base, but it is not going to fly with voters who actually check out what candidates claim.  

If she would make such a utterly false statement about this, what else does she claim which is not true?  

To borrow the phrase from Politifact, I rate this one:  PANTS ON FIRE!   

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy REAL Independence Day

You may be wondering at the title, since most have always been taught that July 4th is Independence Day.

On July 2, 1776, the Continential Congress adopted the resolution of Richard Henry Lee to declare the American colonies independent of Great Britain.  The vote was unanimous, except for New York, which abstained. 

The (edited) version of Jefferson's historic Declaration of Independence was adopted two days later, on July 4, 1776.  But the version of the Declaration that was adopted was actually signed on August 2, 1776. 

So, if you want to go according to the first official act of the American colonies to declare themselves "free and independent states", you would go by July 2, 1776, the date the United States of America came into being. 

Happy Birthday America.

Friday, June 22, 2012

How many Democrats are there in Hamilton County anyway?

I am a little sick of hearing jokes about the number of Democrats in Hamilton County.  Things like "Do you have meetings in a phone booth?" or "I bet there are about two Democrats there".  Then there are the truly sad statements by supposedly pro-Democratic voters who apparently never do an internet search, that go, "But I thought I was the only one!" 

Hamilton County is one of Indiana's five most populous counties.  And while it traditionally has been a strong Republican area, there are a lot of people here willing to vote for the right Democrat.

In 2008, 49,704 people cast ballots for Barack Obama in the general election.  In 2004, 47,999 votes were cast for Evan Bayh for Senate.  No matter how you look at it, that is a LOT of votes.

Even in bad years, with poor candidates, or an indifferent electorate, Democratic candidates get between 25-30% of the vote.  Senator Bayh got 46% in 2004.  President Obama got just under 40% in 2008. 

Are there more of the other guys than us?  Yep.  But there are a LOT more people here willing to vote for Democrats than most people think. Thousands of them.  We just have to give them decent candidates, and work as hard as we can.  There are more Democrats in Hamilton County than there are total numbers of voters in many counties.  That makes us important to statewide candidates.

The silly jokes can stop now. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Radical Right vs the Voice of Reason

I have been talking with a lot of Republicans lately, which is hard NOT to do when you live in Hamilton County, Indiana.  Those have been very interesting conversations with intelligent people who's viewpoints on some issues differ a little from mine.

But unlike a lot of the folks you may see on TV, these Republicans are different.  The candidates on TV, some of them anyway, rant and rave and promise to "never compromise".   Those are folks on what I think of as the Radical Right, some of them Tea Party adherents.  I don't even think the Radical Right folks meet the traditional definition of "conservative", it seems to me that they have gone so far as to be "regressive" and want to go back to 19th century Robber Baron policies, or even further.

But the folks I have been speaking with are not that way at all.  They are disturbed by gridlock in Washington, disturbed at the jobs situation, and want to do something about it.  They WANT their candidates to reach across party lines and compromise for the benefit of all.  They believe that the emphasis on lowering taxes, regardless of consequences, and on social issues is divisive and not helpful, and perhaps not even the primary job of government.

The problem is, these folks are QUIET about it.  The loudest of the Radical Right get all the attention.  Some of these more reasonable folks, many of them traditional conservatives, are actually frightened to speak up.  So their only recourse will be at the ballot box.

I like these kinds of Republicans, I can speak with them and have civil discourse and disagreement without anger, and we sometimes find common ground.  I hope the Republican Party has enough of these sorts of folks to keep their party that of Dwight Eisenhower, and not let it become that of Mike Pence, Richard Mourdock, and David McIntosh, radicals all.  I am not overly hopeful, but more hopeful than I was a few weeks ago, polls notwithstanding.

I guess we will find out more tomorrow.  If the Radical Right beats down the voice of reason, perhaps some rational Republicans can find their way to support some rational Democrats in November, and get our state and federal governments back to the real job of governing.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Did David McIntosh commit voter fraud?

In a previous post, I had asked "Where does McIntosh live?", raising questions about the residency of Fifth District Congressional candidate David McIntosh.  Since then, McIntosh's opponents, mainly Susan Brooks and Dr. John McGoff, have relentlessly attacked McIntosh on this issue, as have others, including traditional and non-traditional media. 

McIntosh has claimed to live in Indiana, but otherwise will not answer questions on this issue.  When WISH-TV reporter Jim Shella, also the host of "Indiana Week in Review" on PBS, tried to question McIntosh on this issue, McIntosh, who knew the interview was coming, ended the interview and walked away.

The question that drove McIntosh into this unseemly retreat was about where McIntosh's wife and kids live.  McIntosh, an attorney, probably knew this was a hot-button question, as by all accounts, his wife and children live in their home in Arlington, Virginia, the children attend school there and his wife is registered to vote there. 

This is a Very Big Deal because of Indiana law about residency for voting purposes.  Indiana Code 3-5-5-11 provides:

The place where a person's immediate family resides is the person's residence, unless the family's residence is:

(1) a temporary location for the person's immediate family; or

(2) for transient purposes.

The only way McIntosh can claim residence separate from his wife and children, who apparently remain in Virginia, is to separate from them with the intent of establishing a separate, permanent, residence.  This does not appear to be his defense.  Otherwise, McIntosh legally remains a Virginia resident for voting purposes, and has never established a legal voting residence in Indiana. 

McIntosh is already under investigation for possible vote fraud, which as we learned in the Charlie White case, is a felony, both for false voter registration, and for falsely voting where a person does not actually live, both felonies. 

Voters elected Charlie White notwithstanding the ongoing felony investigation in 2010.  Will they do the same in 2012?   Frankly, unless David McIntosh comes forward with something other than silence and evasion, he may face the same type of criminal charges as Charlie White.  Our system cannot afford candidates who play these sorts of games. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A milestone - 5000 pageviews

My little project in political self-expression is apparently not so little any more.  I have just passed over 5000 pageviews since I started in 2010.  And over 1000 of that was in the last month! 

Thanks to all who follow my thoughts, whether you agree or disagree, and thanks for paying attention to what happens in our democracy. 

The Myth of Big Government

Conservatives are very vocal about the dangers of "Big Government" usually couched in the form of "taking away your freedom", although they seldom say exactly how this is done, or why it is attributable to "big government" as opposed to government generally.

I can see the fear of over-reaching government, and I am sure that we have all experienced some aspect of that, usually through some bureaucratic idiocy, but sometimes worse.  America after all was founded by a wish to be free of a repressive government that was far away and unresponsive to our needs. 

However, I personally am FAR more fearful of government becoming the exclusive tool of the extremely wealthy and of mega-corporations.  This is especially true in times governed by a Supreme Court decision that equates money with political speech and effectively gives corporate interests MORE power than real human beings. 

If government abuses you, there are tools to try to fight back, using the law, the Constitution, and the Courts, to try to insure that you are treated fairly.  It doesn't always work, and no system is perfect.  But the same defenses don't always work well against giant corporations.  They are not bound by the Constitutional protections against unfair and arbitrary treatment, or the guarantee of due process.  In so-called "Right to Work" states and "employment at will" states, the power of organized labor to try to balance the great power of the mega-corporations has been limited by sheer political fiat, in a political system bought and paid for by the corporate interests. 

Increasingly, we have fewer and fewer defenses against abusive use of corporate power.  The only possible institution to protect us from all sorts of abuse is the government, mainly by wise use of regulatory power.  But a recurring theme of "government is the enemy" has allowed regulation to be kicked to the curb, resulting in things like the 2008 recession and bursting of the housing bubble.  Attempts to recover from this crash have been hamstrung by nay-sayers who cry "Big Government!" and who do not see the real problem, or they are bought and paid for by corporate power. 

So is this going to be Government by, for, and of the People any longer?  Or is it going to be corporate government, for the benefit of those institutions only, and the People are left with the crumbs and an illusion of democracy?  As wealth is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands,  I fear we are rapidly becoming the latter, aided and abetted by those who think they are supporting smaller government, but in fact are supporting an undemocratic corporate government. 

I fear for the nation my grandchildren may inherit. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Indy Star endorses Reske, McGoff, in 5th race

The Indianapolis Star has endorsed State Representative Scott Reske for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the open seat representing the Fifth Congressional District.  That district, which now stretches from Broad Ripple to north of Marion, includes Anderson and substantial numbers of Democratic voters, and is considered far more viable for a Democrat in the past.

In endorsing Reske, they stressed his leadership, experience and ability to compromise:

Reske boasts a strong track record in that area, having garnered substantial Republican support in his election campaigns and in policymaking in the General Assembly and the Council of State Governments, of which he has been Midwest chairman. "Market the Midwest" is his slogan, and he'd be a good bet to back it up. 
A Marine Colonel, Iraq vet, civil engineer, volunteer firefighter, and legislative leader, Reske is well-respected across party lines.  The Star endorsement is available in full here:|newswell|text|Opinion|s

On the GOP side, the Star has endorsed former Marion County Coroner and three-time Congressional candidate, Dr. John McGoff.  The Star pointedly snubbed former congressman David McIntosh and former U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks, who lead in fundraising and have brought in big-name support.  However, serious questions persist about McIntosh's residency and charges of vote fraud, and Brooks has never before run for office.  The Star liked how Dr. McGoff challenged Congressman Dan Burton twice and exposed his vulnerability.  That Star endorsement is here:|newswell|text|Opinion|p

Depending upon your party, both of these candidates deserve your serious consideration in the May 8th primary.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


In a move anticipated since his felony convictions were handed down by a Hamilton County jury, former Secretary of State Charlie White has been suspended from the practice of law by the Indiana Supreme Court.  The decision of the Supreme Court is here:

This is standard procedure for an attorney convicted of a felony.  White's convictions are on appeal.  Should his convictions be reversed, he could theoretically recover his law license and even the Secretary of State's office.

The drama continues.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Why I dislike Richard Mourdock

I can't decide if this will be a long post or a short one.  There are so many reasons why I dislike State Treasurer Richard Mourdock that it is hard to categorize all of them.  And to start off at the top, no it is NOT because I am a Democrat and he is a Republican.  I have many Republican friends, sometimes we agree, sometimes not.  Its not even that he beat a Rhodes Scholar (who is now Mayor of South Bend) in the 2010 race for State Treasurer.

Partly is because he is a hypocrite.  He has been running for one office or another literally as long as Dick Lugar has, but he attacks Lugar for being a career politician.  REALLY?  At least Lugar has won all of his races, Mourdock has lost far more than he has won.

For me, a big part of my dislike for Mourdock is what I think of as his attempted murder of Chrysler.  You may recall that Chrysler went through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.  But Mr. Mourdock made a legal fight, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, trying to kill that reorganization, and spent about $2 million in taxpayer dollars doing it.  Had Mourdock WON that fight, he would have killed hundreds of thousands of American jobs, because there was no other way to reorganize Chrysler other than the way they were doing it.

Why did Mourdock make this fight?  To cover up one of the most idiotic decisions in Indiana political history, and there are plenty of those.  Mourdock had invested Millions from the state pension funds he controls in junk bonds.  These were Chrysler junk bonds.  They were junk bonds because everyone with half a brain knew Chrysler was going bankrupt, so their value was falling like a stone.  The market itself should have warned Mourdock off, but NOOOO, he thought it was a Great Deal.  Hogwash.

Worse, the reorganization was a better deal for creditors than if Chrysler had just been liquidated.  All of this has been covered ad nauseum elsewhere.  So we have this not-so-smart investment decision to invest pension funds in junk bonds, when they should not have been put to that level of risk at all, then a multi-million dollar legal coverup of that investment stupidity, accompanied by legal hogwash from people who don't know the inside of a bankruptcy court.

And there is more, so much more.  On a partisan note, I probably shouldn't bash Mourdock, since Joe Donnelly will (hopefully) beat him come November should the GOP be so stupid as to nominate him.  But I just can't stand to do that.  I don't think he is qualified for ANY office, not even the one he holds.   And I care about my state too much to sit by silently and let them try to elect this moron without me shouting about it.

Rant over.  For now.  Anybody but Mourdock.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Money talks in the Fifth District Congressional race

Common wisdom in politics is that to be successful, you need three things:  money, message, and people.  Very often, but not always, the candidate with the most money wins.  There are plenty of examples to the contrary tho, such as the 2007 win of Greg Ballard for Mayor of Indianapolis, where he was hugely out-spent by the incumbent and won regardless.

But looking at money in politics, and where it comes from, is always a productive exercise for anyone trying to see behind the scenes.  And since the 1st quarter 2012 numbers are just in on the Federal Election Commission website, let's see what we can glean from that.

First, it is a crowded field, mostly on the Republican side, where 8 candidates filed for the seat being vacating by finally-retiring Congressman Dan Burton.  Of those 8, only 4 seem serious candidates, those being Susan Brooks, a Carmel attorney and former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana; Dr. John McGoff, a physician and former Marion County Coroner making his third run at the seat; Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold; and David McIntosh, a former Congressman who's residence in Virginia has been the subject of numerous attacks by Brooks, McGoff, Seybold, and numerous commentators, including yours truly in this blog.  There are also two Democrats, State Rep. Scott Reske of Pendleton, a retired Marine Colonel and civil engineer, who seems the only viable Democratic candidate, and a former union representative from Kokomo, Tony Long. 

Of the ten filed candidates, Brooks and McIntosh have raised the most money by the March 31, 2012 reporting deadline.  Brooks has raised a total of $594,895 since she started in July 2011, and has $328,047 cash on hand.  McIntosh also started in July 2011, and has raised a total of $656,249, a great deal of it from out of state, and has $309,805 cash on hand. 

From there is a sharp drop.  Dr. McGoff reports raising $268,839 while he has only $90,422 on hand.  Mayor Seybold is even worse, raising only $75,622, with $31,134 cash on hand.  All 4 major GOP candidates continue their fundraising.

Notably, Democrat Scott Reske has raised $146,351 despite only getting into the race in October, well after Brooks, McIntosh, and McGoff, and has $49,106 on hand, more than Mayor Seybold.  Reske will not have to spend any money on media in the campaign (his opponent's coffers are running red ink), but the GOP candidates will likely spend everything they have on ads in this competitive race.  Reske seems to have raised more money than any Democrat in the Fifth in decades, and has the hurdle of convincing donors that he is for real and viable, which he may just have done with these figures. 

One might think that the GOP side of the race would be a toss-up at this point between Brooks and McIntosh, except for that pesky residency thing.  Brooks, McGoff and Seybold have all attacked McIntosh over his Virginia residency, and complaints have been filed with the new Indiana Secretary of State, the Madison County Election Board, and the Madison County Prosecutor.  If those GOP contenders all put media money into hitting McIntosh on this issue, he could be in bad trouble. 

My call at this point, absent access to any polling numbers, is that Brooks has the advantage in the Republican primary because of her cash on hand and McIntosh's potentially crippling residency problem.  Reske should be a no-brainer because of his experience and organization on the Democratic side, but he should not take the race for granted, as bizarre results have happened before when a candidate assumed victory. 

But for sure, the next three weeks until the primary will be entertaining.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Why does residency matter?

A Republican friend of mind recently commented on Facebook that he thought my concerns over David McIntosh's residency was "childish".  He did not explain why, and did not even want to discuss it.  But that friend is a locally-prominent supporter of McIntosh's Congressional candidacy, so perhaps that explains his disdain.

But some other folks have also raised this issue.  In the space of about a year and a half, we have the specter of some sort of residency issue haunt Charlie White (which I first brought to light), venerable U.S. Senator Dick Lugar (which I had nothing at all to do with), and David McIntosh, were I was one of the earliest people talking about it, nearly a month ago.

But why does it matter?

My first thought, as a lawyer, is respect for the law.  The law requires certain things of us as voters in terms of residency, and to a greater or lesser extent, as a candidate.  Local candidates often have to live in the district they wish to represent and to be properly-registered voters in that district.  Falsifying a voter registration to qualify for office, or to retain office, is considered serious enough in Indiana that it is a felony.  Assuming that you can do whatever you want because you have power, or position, or because you think no one cares, is the height of arrogance.

But the philosophy behind these laws is more important.  That is, to represent people in a democratic system, you must be of and from the people you represent.  You must be sufficiently connected to them, their lives, and their concerns to represent them whether it is in a town council, a state legislature, or in Congress.  The best way to assure that is for the candidate to actually live with and know the people he or she would represent.

This is why the residency of Dick Lugar and David McIntosh matter so much to so many people in this election.  Not because some people think that the law may have been violated.  But because voters want their representatives to be one of them, not someone who used to live here and moved to another state.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Seybold's Mom and Health Care

I am not usually one to pass along rumors, but this one is just too much for me to resist.  According to a source in Marion, Indiana, where Fifth District GOP Congressional candidate Wayne Seybold is Mayor, Seybold's mother, despite living in the USA for many years, remains a British citizen.  According to the source, the reason is that Mom Seybold wants to stay on Britain's national health service. 

THAT might be a bit of a quandry for Mayor Seybold, his mother being on "socialized medicine".  Seybold's published position on American healthcare reform is this:
Wayne Seybold will aggressively advocate a repeal of the radical government take over of our nation’s healthcare system., accessed 4/2/12, 4:20 pm EDT. 

Not only is the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") most decidely NOT a "government take over", it feeds several million new customers to private insurance companies, and was originally an idea of the uber-conservative Heritage Foundation. 

But I digress.  We have the sight of a conservative Republican candidate blasting healthcare reform that to my mind is pretty modest and of GOP and conservative origins, and his own mother is on REAL socialized medicine?  Give me a break. 

This inspires me to do more digging on Mayor Seybold, to see if the Mayor's image equals reality.  Stay tuned. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

District 37: Driskell vs Huston

The other night, I went to a candidate forum at Fishers Town Hall featuring the two GOP candidates for the new State Representative District 37 seat, which is comprised of about 80% of Fishers.  (Speaker Brian Bosma has the rest, Geist and some other areas).  The two candidates are Debbie Driskell, long-time Delaware Township Trustee and long-time GOP insider Todd Huston.

I listened with interest, as one of these candidates is likely to be the new State Representative from this district, which I live in.  The Democrats have no announced candidate, although they have some time to remedy that, and it is predominately Republican, as is most of Hamilton County.

Driskell and Huston did not disagree about a lot.  Until they got to education, and in my opinion, Huston really stepped in a big mess.  The state's schools are all graded, not just by performance, but by how well they improved from previous years.  Well, Hamilton Southeastern Schools are among the best in the state, so how much can they improve each year?  This resulted in Fishers High School and Hamilton Southeastern High School getting "C" grades (they nearly failed, but it was appealed), and Huston served on the State Board of Education.  To pretty much everyone's shock, Huston DEFENDED this system, and Driskell jumped all over that, in the biggest disagreement of the night.

Now if a local person with a long involvement in education defends a system which is so obviously wrong for our excellent local schools, something is wrong with that picture.

Driskell and Huston either agreed or dodged other issues, including their position on the city-town debate that has been raging in Fishers for the last few years, stating it was a local decision, and not a state issue, and both stated they would support whatever the voters decide.

As one of about 2 Democrats in a room full of Republicans, I found that I would disagree with both candidates about plenty of things.  But Debbie Driskell struck me as more practical, and Todd Huston more ideological.  I don't vote in the GOP primary, so this may be a moot point for me, but some might find my observations interesting.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Picking your opponent

There seems to be a trend in politics for those in one party to meddle in the selection of candidates of the other party.  This came to light in a major way in the 2008 Presidential primary when conservative Republicans responded to Rush Limbaugh's call to "Operation Chaos", asking GOP voters to cross over and vote against their (then) most-hated candidate, Hillary Clinton.  Well they did, Barack Obama won the nomination, and guess what, he won in November.

Now, the state Democratic party seems to be trying to help State Treasurer Richard Mourdock knock off long-time incumbent Senator Richard Lugar.  They think Mourdock would be an easier candidate to attack, and they are right.  They have issues with Lugar being in Congress so long, and concerns about his residency, and they are right about that.

But what if Mourdock beats Lugar, then goes on to defeat Congressman Joe Donnelly in the November election?  As no fan of Mourdock at all, as he wasted millions of dollars of the public's money trying to kill Chrysler, what service would it be to Indiana or the nation to elect this man?

Generally, I am in favor of the two best and strongest candidates competing in a battle of ideas and organization in a general election. This usually serves the public best, not that the result is always right. But trying to pick your opponent strikes me as a Bad Idea, bad politics, and bad for the public.

Beware of what you ask for, you might get it.  And regret it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Supreme Court rules White challenge untimely

In a 4-1 ruling on this point, the Indiana Supreme Court has issued an opinion today that the Democratic Party's challenge filed after the November 2010 election for Secretary of State was untimely.  This reverses a decision by the Marion County Circuit Court.  The opinion of the Supreme Court is here.

Interestingly, the Supreme Court's decision did not decide the validity of White's voter registration, but decided the case in a way that leaves White's criminal conviction and pending appeal unaffected.   Unless the 6 felony convictions are overturned, White is still out of the Secretary of State's office.  All this decision today does is to keep Vop Osili out of that office. 

In a separate opinion, Justice Dickson disagreed with the majority and felt that the Democratic Party's challenge was in fact timely under the election law.  However, he also felt that the requirement of being a registered voter, legally or illegally, was a violation of the Indiana Constitution, which does not contain such a requirement for the office of Secretary of State. 

The oddest thing about this decision  is that it would require background investigations and challenges at a much earlier time frame, perhaps earlier than is reasonable.  In the case of White, it would have required an investigation months before I actually knew anything about White's shell game with his residence and voter registration.  In other words, we were required to act before we actually knew anything. 

But this all could have been avoided IF THE VOTERS HAD PAID ATTENTION.  A few did, but not many.  Too many voted for the party, and not the man, as I have previously written.   Voters all too often do not pay attention until very late in the process.  Our democracy suffers because of this. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Did Susan Brooks shift to the right?

One of the earliest candidates for the Fifth District Congressional seat being vacated by a (finally!) retiring Dan Burton is attorney Susan Brooks.  A former U.S. Attorney and executive at Ivy Tech, Brooks is the only female candidate in the race.

When I learned of her announcement in July 2011 that she would oppose Burton, who had not yet announced retirement, I was interested as she had a reputation as a moderate who might be pro-choice and not dogmatically Radical Right like Burton.  Apart from being female, such moderate positions would distinguish her in that race.

But with Burton out and a total of 8 GOP candidates for the nomination in the Fifth, Brooks seemingly has veered to the right with the rest of the field.  She now describes herself as a "pro-life conservative" and makes policy statements accordingly.

In doing so, has Brooks abandoned large numbers of moderate GOP women who might otherwise support her?  By shifting to the right, does she risk losing those moderate GOP women to a Democrat if she is her party's nominee?  With the altered makeup of the Fifth District, that is a very real possibility.

Bad move by Brooks.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Where does McIntosh live?

For all the recent uproar about where certain candidates do or do not live (Richard Lugar, Charlie White), another candidate has his own residency issues, which I have been looking into, but which I have not seen commented about anywhere in the Hoosier media.

That candidate is former Congressman, now running again for Congress in the Fifth District, David McIntosh.  McIntosh used to live in Muncie, where he owned a house near the campus of Ball State University.  But that house was sold some years ago.

McIntosh's own campaign bio (at the end), has him living in Arlington, Virginia.
Currently living in Arlington, VA with wife, Ruthie, and two children, Ellie and David.
McIntosh's campaign bio

When I started asking around, people told me that they thought that McIntosh lives somewhere in Pendleton. But I could not get an actual address on that.  McIntosh seems to be registered to vote in Anderson, at a house owned by someone else.  Whether or not he actually lives there is anyone's guess at this point, even if it is only part-time.

McIntosh works for a law firm in the District of Columbia as a lobbyist.  Law firm bio  He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia.  His Indiana lawyer registration lists him as working for the same law firm, but with an Anderson PO Box, not a physical address.  That PO Box is the same one used for his campaign committee.

McIntosh's ties to Virginia are so strong, that last July, the conservative PAC associated with the Citizens United group asked McIntosh to run for Congress FROM VIRGINIA:
"David McIntosh and his family have lived in Arlington, Virginia for the past 5 years. If McIntosh dreams of being a Congressman again, he should run against Congressman Jim Moran in Virginia's 8th Congressional District where he resides," said David N. Bossie, President of Citizens United. "For the elites to try and fix an election in Indiana shows they did not learn anything in 2010. The Conservative movement stands fully behind Conservative Congressman Dan Burton in his quest for reelection. DC Lobbyist David McIntosh should reevaluate a future campaign."
Press release

Virginia resident?  DC lobbyist?  I don't know how comfortable a lot of Hoosier voters will be with that.  They did elect Dan Coats to the Senate over similar objections, but it seems to me that the Charlie White and Dick Lugar residency issues may have shifted that thinking.

Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution states:

"No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen."


Thursday, February 23, 2012


In a sometimes-emotional 2-hour hearing today in Hamilton County Superior Court 1, Judge Nation today refused to reduce the convictions of former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White from felonies to misdemeanors.  Judge Nation, a former prosecutor, sentenced White to one year incarceration, to be served as home detention with electronic monitoring; a $1000 fine, and court costs.  White intends to appeal, and asked the Court to appoint counsel.

Judge Nation, in expressing his reasons for the sentence, expressly refuted that this was a political prosecution.  Judge Nation, who like White is Republican, found that the actions of 6 Hamilton County residents on the Grand Jury which indicted White, and 12 Hamilton County citizens who served on the trial jury, refuted any claim that this was a "political persecution" as another blogger put it.

Judge Nation went on to state that the evidence clearly showed that White acted intentionally and with design.  When it suited White, he claimed in private documents that the new condo was his residence, but in public documents related to his Fishers Town Council position and related to his voting place and candidacy, he claimed his ex-wife's house.   Judge Nation made it very clear that he was convinced that this was done purposely and that White thought he would never be brought to account.  It seemed as if White's refusal to accept the consequences of his actions factored into the Judge's decision, and was the subject of an angry exchange between White's attorney, former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, and the special prosecutors.  Brizzi lost that exchange, and the special prosecutors were allowed to continue in that vein.

As a result of this conviction, White now cannot reclaim the office of Secretary of State unless his 6 felony convictions are overturned on appeal.  He likely will now face disciplinary action against his law license by the Supreme Court's Disciplinary Commission, which likely will result in suspension or disbarment.

The civil case about whether or not White was even legally a candidate will go to the Indiana Supreme Court next week for oral argument.  That case will decide if Democratic candidate Vop Osili will get the office, as appears to be required by state law, or if the Governor's appointee will get the job.

All of this was caused by the arrogance of an ambitious politician who thought he could do as he pleased, and no one would hold him to account.  That arrogance has now destroyed Charlie White's political career, and possibly his legal career.  As the jury foreman stated in an interview after the verdict, he has no one to blame but himself.

Charlie, how COULD you have been so stupid?  Amazing.

Monday, February 20, 2012


For those who may be interested in attending, the sentencing in the criminal case of former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White will be this Thursday, February 23, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. in Superior Court 1 in Noblesville. 

For those not familiar with courthouses, be prepared to go through security, this means no guns, knives or other weapons, and be prepared to remove your belt and other metal items.  Also, no photos allowed in the courtroom, and turn off the ringer on your cell phone, as  phone ringing will annoy the judge. 

It is not known at this time if the recent illness of White's attorney, former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, will delay the hearing.  No motion to continue the hearing has been filed by Brizzi, or at least none is on the docket right now. 

A lot of speculation has gone into whether or not White will get jail time, and whether or not some or all of the 6 felonies the jury found White guilty of will be reduced to misdemeanors.  That speculation will end Thursday afternoon when Judge Nation (who is also a former Hamilton County Prosecutor) announces White's sentence. 

Brizzi has announced that he will appeal the jury verdict regardless of the sentence. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012


As most of my readers know, I had a small part in the saga of Charlie White, as I was the person who investigated reports that he had moved out of his Fishers Town Council district, and I held a press conference and reported what I found to the Hamilton County Prosecutor.  Events since then have taken their course, according to the rule of law, and now White has been found guilty on 6 out of 7 felony charges.

Some people prior to the verdict had this as some sort of partisan vendetta, a subject I addressed in an earlier post, The Continuing Saga of Charlie White.  That baseless complaint has mostly died down now that a jury of 12 Hamilton County citizens has rendered their verdict.

The rendering of the guilty verdict automatically disqualified Charlie White from holding the office of Secretary of State, a matter which was the subject of an ongoing court case anyway.  A Marion County judge had found that White was not legally registered to vote, since he wrongly registered at his ex-wife's house, and therefore he was not validly elected, and further, according to state law, the office belonged to the second-place finisher, Vop Osili.  The Indiana Attorney General appealed that case, so the court ruling is stayed and not in effect.

But, pursuant to a different law, when White's conviction automatically removed him from office, Governor Daniels appointed White's deputy to be "interim" Secretary of State.  But, and this might be important, the letter appointing Jerry Bonnet does not use the "interim" tag.  Here is the appointment letter.  So is this an "interim" appointment, or permanent?

This is completely unknown territory.  I don't recall any prior case in my lifetime where a state officer was convicted of a felony and disqualified from office, let alone have his eligibility to run for the office in the first place be challenged.  We now have competing laws, and court cases, providing for completely different people to hold the office.

Even MORE complicated, since the charges which White was convicted of are Class D felonies, the Judge could possibly reduce these charges to a misdemeanor.  And again, we have two different provisions of statute, this time of the same law, that conflict on whether White could regain office.  One says he doesn't regain office even if reduced to a misdemeanor, and the other says he CAN if they were not related to his office, which they were not, as they arose prior to the election.

Doubtless the Courts will have to resolve this mess and more, including what happens to the Republican Party's status as a major political party in Indiana, a complication which reaches far beyond the fate of Charlie White.

This all could have been avoided if Charlie White had not arrogantly considered himself above the law.  The jury has found that he knew what he was doing, and did it deliberately.  He created this mess, not just for himself, his family and his political party, but for the People of Indiana.

As I said at the beginning of this, in my press conference in September 2010...


Thursday, February 2, 2012


Per tweets from Carrie Ritchie (Indianapolis Star) at the Charlie White trial, the prosecution has rested, but in something of a shocker, White will not testify, nor offer any witnesses or evidence in his behalf.  This would appear to set up a challenge to the legal sufficiency of the charges and evidence.

This was after cell phone records were introduced showing 8 times more calls and texts from the condo where he had allegedly moved outside of his Fishers Town Council district, than from his ex-wife's house, where he claimed to be living and changed his voter registration to. 

Closing arguments will be given to the jury at 8:30 am tomorrow (Friday), and then the case will be submitted to the jury. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Tri-Partisan lawsuit - Reminder

A quick reminder, oral argument at the Indiana Supreme Court will be webcast live tomorrow morning, Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 9:00 am EST.  The webcast can be seen here:

It will also be available later if you can't view it live.

The "TriPartisan lawsuit" is nothing less than an attempt to preserve real democracy in Fishers, by protecting the right of the people to vote for a Mayor of their choice, and a City Council with real districts.  It is opposed to the so-called "hybrid city" being advanced by some which would not allow such popular elections.  So to say that this is an attempt to preserve democracy is no exaggeration.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Tri-Partisan lawsuit - part 2

In a prior post, I introduced a discussion about how 3 Fishers residents, a Republican, a Democrat, and a Libertarian, filed a Federal Court lawsuit against the "hybrid" city proposal but forth by the former members of the Fishers Town Council (3 new members were elected in November).  That lawsuit challenges the legality and constitutionality of the "hybrid" proposal as obstructing and attempting to trump the rights of Fishers' citizens for voting for a Mayor and council of a real City organized as other Indiana cities are organized.  The Federal Court has now certified the state law questions to the Indiana Supreme Court, and oral argument is set in the Supreme Court this coming Thursday, January 26th.

The parties have now filed their briefs with the Supreme Court, and there is some real interesting reading in them.  Let me summarize some of the points made in the briefs:


  • Since the Reorganization Plan (the official document creating the "hybrid" proposal) calls for NO election for a Mayor by the citizens, and NO election of the first "City" council, that it violates both Indiana law and the state Constitution.  The Reorganization Plan makes the Town Council 7 of the 9 members of the new "hybrid" council, and appoints (not elects) the Fall Creek Township Trustee as the 8th member and allows the President of the Fall Creek Township Board, the President of the Fishers Town Council, and the President of the Hamilton County Commissioners to appoint the ninth member.  There is NO election by the voters until 2015, at least. 
  • That the Reorganization Act does NOT provide for creation of new forms of government, but does allow governmental bodies to reorganize into an already-accepted form.   This means any merger into a City would have a Mayor elected by citizens and a Council elected with real districts as all other second-class cities in Indiana.
  • That the Reorganization Act does not allow for elimination of citizen's rights to vote for a Mayor or city council.  
  • That the Reorganization Plan cannot trump the Indiana Constitution and Indiana laws, and believe it or not, it says it DOES, rather like Mr. Faultless et al. wanted to set up their own independent country.
Not surprisingly, the brief filed by Fishers takes a much different tune.

  • That the Reorganization Act "authorizes previously unheard of local government arrangements and allows the voters to decide what is best for them".
  • That the Reorganization Act is an act of home rule which would allow all local governments to reorganize into any form of government at all, subject only to voter approval.
  • In footnote 5 of Fishers' brief, they state:  "In the event that the citizens of Fishers approve both referendum (sic) and the citizens of Fall Creek Township approve the plan, Fishers would become a reorganized city", in other words, the hybrid wins.  

Fishers never argues, as some have, that the "hybrid" (which is nothing of the sort) was not intended to block the referendum to change to a traditional City.  Indeed, they simply ignore it and play a game of "gotcha", claiming that they can literally do whatever they want under the Reorganization Act.  This is almost exactly what Scott Faultless told me at the outset of the reorganization study process when I said their interpretation would allow for formation of a monarchy, a dictatorship, or any other absurd result, and he agreed and shrugged it off.  

However, in a later discussion with State Senator Beverly Gard, she told me that the General Assembly intended nothing of the sort, but intended that merging or reorganizing bodies end up as a currently recognized form, such as a city.  Otherwise, two or more townships for example could create their own county, or dukedom, or whatever.  It sounds absurd, and it is, but that is exactly where the Fishers' version leads us.  

The Fishers version not only leads to something not intended by the legislature, but to something which CANNOT BE CHANGED.  And Mr. Faultless has said so, as there is nothing in State law, or the Reorganization Plan, which would allow for voters to change it, EVER.  

The ""hybrid" is structurally identical to the current "town" form of government.  All that is really changed is the number of council members and the name.  So the dual referenda, by Fishers' own argument, give three out of four chances to keep the current version of government that many want to change to something more democratic.  Instead, by playing "fool the voter", they are trying to lock their self-interested structure that the citizens can never try to change, ever again.  

"Fool the voters" indeed.  Shame on Scott Faultless and all the others who were a party to this sham.  I hope the Courts and the voters of Fishers see through this blatant fraud.  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Charlie White case - An Odd Twist

In a breaking development, it seems as if Indianapolis Star reporter Carrie Ritchie has been subpeoned to testify in the Charlie White criminal case.  At this time, it is not clear to me who issued the subpeona, but at least one source indicates that both the special prosecutor and White's attorney, former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, may have issued Ms. Ritchie a subpeona to testify. 

The Star's attorneys have filed a Motion to Quash the subpeona.  Presumably, a hearing will be held on that motion prior to the start of trial on January 30th.  This is probably based on Indiana's Reporter Shield Law.  However, that law only protects sources, not the information gathered. 

I think I can see why the special prosecutors would want Ms. Ritchie.  If memory serves, the Star published an interview with White after his resignation from the Fishers Town Council wherein White admitted that he had moved to his new condo outside of his Town Council district in February 2010.  White now tells a very different story about sleeping on his ex-wife's sofa, while his present wife lived in the condo.  Such an admission to a reporter, if admissable, might be very damaging to White's defense.

But this would not explain why Brizzi would want her testimony.  Frankly, that part has me stumped for the moment. 

Stay tuned, doubtless there will be more odd twists to the story.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The "Tri-Partisan" lawsuit against Fishers, part 1

This will be the first part of a mult-part series about a lawsuit filed by a Libertarian, Mike Kole, a Republican, Glenn Brown, and a Democrat, Joe Weingarten, against the (former) Town Council of Fishers.  What is this suit about?  There are long and short answers.

The short answer is that the lawsuit is about democracy, and protecting the right of the citizens of Fishers to chose a form of government where they directly elect a Mayor, as with all other Indiana communities the size of Fishers, and many smaller. 

The long answer has become so complicated that many or most Fishers residents probably have no clue that the lawsuit even exists, or what it is about.  So I will begin by introducing the parties, and some history behind the lawsuit.  Later posts will expand on the issues involved, and why they are important.


Mike Kole is a former Libertarian Party chair for Hamilton County and a former Libertarian candidate for Indiana Secretary of State.

Glenn Brown is a former Town of Fishers employee, and was a candidate for Fishers Town Council in the 2011 Republican primary. 

Joe Weingarten has been a two-time Democratic candidate for Indiana General Assembly and was the Democratic candidate for Fishers Clerk-Treasurer in the 2011 election.

The Defendants are the former members (prior to 1/1/12) of the Fishers Town Council and also Fall Creek Township is named as a Defendant.


Prior to May 2010, a non-partisan organization known as CityYes was collecting signatures for a referendum on whether or not to convert Fishers into a City with an elected Mayor.  Despite its size, Fishers uses the "town" form of government, which has no elected mayor and no separation of legislative and executive power, as do all other levels of government, federal, state, county, and all cities in Indiana.

The day prior to the May 2010 primary, CityYes submitted 1700 certified signatures of Fishers voters, more than legally required, asking that the question of conversion to a city be placed on the November 2010 ballot.  The former Town Council ignored the petition.  To this day, that question has never been certified to be placed on the ballot. 

Instead, shortly after the primary, the Town Council and the Fall Creek Township Board started a process to consider a merger between the Town and Fall Creek Township.  A study committee was appointed, and by the end of December 2010, a report was adopted calling for the merger of Fishers and Fall Creek.  BUT, and this is where it gets interesting, it was also proposed that a supposedly NEW form of government be created, that of a "hybrid" city, which would have a Mayor appointed by the new City Council, from among its members, and not Elected by the citizens. 

A side note, it was also proposed that this "merger" include Delaware Township, by Mike Colby, then a member of the Delaware Township Board and now a member of the Fishers Town Council, but that was rejected by the other members of that Township Board.

The Town Council then voted to provisionally place BOTH questions on the ballot at the same time, at the Presidential election of November 2012, where they will be at the end of a very long ballot.  HOWEVER, to this date, neither question has actually been certified to the County Election Board. 

With this background, the three individual Plaintiffs decided to file suit to try to determine if the "end run" around the ORIGINAL referendum was either legal, or Constitutional.  Suit was originally filed in a Hamilton County Court, where Fishers' lawyers complained that it should be in Federal Court.  So the Plaintiffs dropped that suit and refiled in Federal Court in Indianapolis.  Promptly, Fishers' lawyers complained it should be in STATE court, back in Hamilton County, as there were issues of conflicting state laws that needed to be sorted out by state courts.

So where is it now?  The Federal District Court has "certified" a question of Indiana State law to the Indiana Supreme Court.  That question is:  “May a political unit reorganize into a city under Indiana Code article 36-1.5 (the “Reorganization Act”) in a manner that eliminates voting rights recognized under Indiana Code sections 36-4-5-2 and 36-4-6-3(i), including reorganization as a city with (1) a council elected entirely at large, and (2) a mayor appointed by that council?”

That question is now on an expedited briefing schedule, and oral argument will be held in the Supreme Court on Thursday, January 26, 2012, at 9:00 a.m, in the Supreme Court chambers in the State Capitol.  Oral arguments are webcast live, and can be accessed on this page:   Look for the case of "Michael R. Kole, et al. vs Scott Faultless, et al."

I will expand the discussion of what the lawsuit is about, and the complexities of where this issues leads, in future posts.  Any questions you would like to see addressed, feel free to email me, or leave a comment.