Melina Kennedy’s Jobs Plan

Last week, Mayor Greg Ballard gave his State of the City address.  If you missed it, you can watch the speech here.  You can also read the live coverage of the speech  and get the political highlights and debates from the following twitter accounts: the Ballard Campaign, Kyle Walker (GOP Chair), Adam Kirsch (Executive Director)/Marion County Democrats and Melina Kennedy’s campaign account. You’ll notice that Kennedy’s campaign seemed to let the Marion County Democrats handle response on Twitter.

After the speech, Melina Kennedy released a counter video. You can watch it here.  The video starts out with the type of rhetoric you would expect to hear.  The speech was out of touch, we need to do more–the typical Kennedy talking points to this point.  Then, in a move that frankly surprised us, she launched into her jobs plan. We did not expect this since it is a bit early in the season to start throwing plans around and jobs should be one of the key issues of the campaign.  Once she went through her points, it was pretty clear to us that the Kennedy crew should have waited until they had a better formulated plan and message.  Here is what Kennedy suggested in her plan:

  1. Center job creation on the areas of our economy with the most potential for growth: local small businesses.
  2. Get government out-of-the-way by cutting bureaucracy and red tape.
  3. Link our small businesses with the engines of innovation:  local colleges and universities.

That is essentially the bullet points of Melina Kennedy’s jobs plan. We cannot say we are surprised that the Ballard administration created more jobs job commitments in 2010 than in the years Kennedy was Deputy Mayor and Director of Economic Director if this is the type of plan she was able to muster.  The first point really has no action attached to it.  What is going to be done to focus job creation on small business?  And how does that not conflict with the second point of getting government out-of-the-way if part of your plan is to have government focus on job creation?  That said, normally we would have just let it go if the rest of the plan was solid.

The second point was really Kennedy’s attempt to hit Ballard on fee increases.  First off, we would say that this is the pot calling the kettle black. The Peterson administration raised taxes 19 times and borrowed $100 million to supplement budget shortfalls.  Like kids in a candy store, they spent the $100 million in three years and now taxpayers will be paying it off for the next 20 years. The fees Kennedy references had not been increased in Indianapolis since 1979.  From 1979 to 2010, the cumulative inflation is 222.43%.  It seems as though some fee levels would need to increase eventually to keep up with costs. The shortfalls from these fees that had not been increased are a part of the budget deficits the City was facing.  

So what exactly does Kennedy think should be done differently?  Does she think the City should continue to take on the extra costs that the fee levels do not support?  Should the City continue to borrow money and pass on the budget shortfalls to future generations?  Does she think that Mayor Ballard should have just followed the path of political expediency and not increased any fees so we could go 40 years instead of 30 years without increasing fees?  Melina Kennedy loves to tout that she is a small business owner.  Would she go 30 years without increasing prices in her business?  We think not. 

And then we come to the third point from Kennedy:  have small businesses work with local colleges and universities.  Sounds great.  Are they not already?  If not, how are you going to make that happen?  Is this part of government staying out-of-the-way again?  But what really got us was the complete fluff that accompanied this part of the video.  Kennedy says,

Our local colleges and universities are doing amazing research that will one day crack cancer’s tragic code or cure Alzheimer’s. Reasearch that will one day make our homes and cars more sustainable or make gas and electricity more affordable. And when those days come, and they will, I want to make sure our local businesses have partnered with our universities and are ready to take these ideas to the world market.

Wow.  Call us crazy but we think Lilly is probably doing their best to “crack cancer’s tragic code or cure Alzheimer’s” but this goes back to our earlier point that this is not a plan to actually create jobs.  This is political fluff that is put out by a campaign to sound like they have ideas. 

If this is the best Kennedy could come up with on what is supposed to be her strongest issue then she should re-think putting out plans at all.


Howey’s Take on the Indianapolis Mayor’s Race

Last week, Brian Howey at the Howey Political Report gave us his initial take on the Indianapolis Mayor’s Race putting the status as “Leans Ballard.”  Here are some of his observations: 

A Tarrance Group Poll in January gave Ballard a 55-37 percent lead and 71 percent approval. City sources tell HPI that Kennedy had a pollster in the field last week and it may be telling that there was no public release of numbers.

Ballard has kept his budgets out of crisis despite the property tax caps. And he’s got a lot of money to pump into vote-swaying infrastructure with the water utility sale. Public safety is a problem for Ballard and Kennedy is sure to exploit that. Both Ballard and Ken­nedy will be trading shots when it comes to jobs and public safety. Both can pull up “facts” to bolster their arguments. The unknown at this point is what happens between now the November election?

Cities are organic things and a million things can go wrong. But Ballard is not your typi­cal mayor – he comes off as apolitical. In our dealings with residents, there isn’t nearly the polarizing thoughts expressed about him as we’ve seen with Mayors Goldsmith and Peterson. Ballard appears to be entering this election in a best case scenario mode. How he runs his campaign could determine whether he gets a second term.

Abdul also indicated he heard Kennedy was in the field and the results showed her down double digits to Mayor Ballard.

You Asked, We Answer: What does the Dem walkout mean to local 2011 elections?

We have had a few comments asking our opinion on what the effect the Democrat walkouts over at the Statehouse will have on local races here in Marion County. 

At Ogden on Politics, Paul says, “You betcha.”  He argues that these issues will motivate the Democrat base and predicts Mayor Greg Ballard will lose by more than ten percent.  To that, we ask if he is a part of the marijuana legalization study the State Senate just passed.  We’re not saying it is crazy to predict a victory by either candidate–everyone has the right to their opinion.  We’re saying a ten percent victory for either side is a bit over the top.  As an aside, Paul said, “Opinion polls do not measure the intensity of one’s views.”  That is incorrect.  Nearly every poll we’ve ever seen has an intensity question.  Not all do but most that are done by reputable pollsters include an intensity question.

Over at Indy Democrat, Jon Easter says yes. He makes a valid argument that some of the controversial issues being brought up over at the Statehouse could put local officials in a tough spot.  Honestly, we think that it is all a matter of how the issues are addressed.  That said, those issues are not what the walkout is centered on.  We believe the walkout is going to overshadow a lot of those issues at this point and become the issue.   And we believe the House Democrats overplayed their hand. We said it yesterday but Capitol & Washington referenced a poll saying that 67% of Americans disapprove of the walkouts like in Wisconsin.  That isn’t an Indiana only poll but it shows a general trend.

Our view is that they overplayed their hand and it will end up being a negative for Democrats in the Statehouse.  We really aren’t sure that it is going to have any effect on local candidates.  We did read on IBJ reporter Francesca Jarosz’s twitter that Democrats plan to skip the State of the City address as a show of opposition.  If local Democrats start taking their cues from the Statehouse then this trend could definitely have an effect on the upcoming elections.  Voters typically expect legislators to show up and vote.  They do not always have to agree with the vote but just not voting doesn’t seem to be acceptable.  And there is always a danger for any candidate to get on the wrong side of an issue and have a problem–but that is something a candidate can control or at least minimize the damage.  

But to say you know definitely how any of this will actually play out and affect elections while we are still in the middle of it is a bit of a stretch.  As Michael Douglas says in The American President, ” I drop five points when Wisconsin doesn’t make the Rose Bowl.”  Our point?  Voters are unpredictable and this situation is volatile.  Who knows what is going to happen.

Democrats About to Overplay Their Hand, Need to Listen to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”

As virtually everyone is aware at this point, the House Democrats have fled the state to avoid voting on the Right to Work bill.  The road trip to Illinois was part two of the now three-day standstill in the House chambers.  Democrats killed the Right to Work bill by not adopting committee reports by midnight last night so you probably thought things would get back to normal today. 

Not so.

Late Tuesday night, the Democrats said they will not come back to session until a commitment is made not to attempt to bring the Right to Work legislation back and the vouchers bill is dumped as well.  This is where the House Democrats begin to overplay the hand they were dealt. 

With the Governor saying for months that Right to Work was too controversial for this session, Democrats had some cover in saying the legislation was extreme and killing the bill even if it meant a walkout.  Extending their demands to the voucher bill, however, was not a smart move.  The Governor is committed to education reform and the Democrats will begin to look like greedy children.

In addition to all this, the budget is on the same time constraints as the voucher bill. Staying away long enough to kill the voucher bill will also in all likelihood kill the House’s structurally balanced budget bill  AND 23 other bills that have nothing to do with this squabble.  Add those to the estimated 21 bills that were killed yesterday and the House Republicans have some serious ammunition. 

Governor Daniels took some heat yesterday on the interwebs for not pushing harder on the Right to Work bill.  It is misguided criticism but we’re sure he did not appreciate it.  House Democrats may be handing him an opportunity to show the nation the temper that they did not see yesterday.  It may not be wise to wake a sleeping giant.

Who knows what will happen in the next 24 hours but we’d say the House Dems may want to take a listen to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”.  They’ve walked away.  They’ve run. It might be time to fold ’em.

Band On The Run: House Democrats Flee the State

State Democrats fled the state to avoid voting on the Right to Work bill that was passed out of committee yesterday.  In order to avoid being taken into State Police custody and brought in to do their duty and vote on legislation, Democrats have fled to nearby states with Democrat Governors like Kentucky and Illinois. 

Today is the last day for the House to vote to adopt committee reports which means the Right to Work bill will die if the Democrats do not come back to vote today.  Frankly, we understand why the Governor did not want to take this issue up this session because exactly what he said would happen is happening.  There are several important bills that this legislation is holding up. 

We’ve heard there are as many as 21 bills that were coming out of committees that this political stunt will kill. If you ever wondered how strong the union lobby is then you have gotten your answer.  Strong enough to kill 21 unrelated pieces of legislation.

The fact is that the Democrats know they will lose the vote and there is nothing worse than a sore loser.

It’s Official: Mourdock Vs. Lugar

Richard Mourdock made it official this morning and kicked-off his campaign for Senate against Senator Richard Lugar. You can read the entire speech here but we’ll give you some of the highlights.

First off, this is not going to be a friendly race.  While Mourdock started off saying how much he respects Sen. Lugar and what an honorable public servant he has been, his campaigns actions spoke louder than his words.  Right as the event was getting started, Mourdock’s twitter feed began promoting a video entitled “Obama’s Favorite Republican – Dick Lugar.” 

Second, Mourdock is using his normal historical references in this race.  The speech noted that the announcement was planned for George Washington’s Birthday for a reason.  Washington could have served as President for life but walked away because he knew it was time. This is a theme that we should all get used to hearing for the next year and a half since it appears to be Mourdock’s campaign slogan.

Third, Mourdock said that members of the Republican State Committee asked him to consider running as early as last summer.  We are told that several members of State Committee were at the announcement with 6th District Chair Ted Ogle introducing Mourdock.  Mourdock has released a list of 68 County Chairs who have endorsed his candidacy.   

The only thing we know for sure right now is that it is going to be a LONG 15 months.

Word on Washington Street: Democrat Side of the U.S. Senate Race

While a lot of attention is being paid to the Republican side of the U.S. Senate race, several Democrats are quietly working to get their side of the aisle in line. 

Many have said that U.S. Congressman Joe Donnelly would be an ideal candidate for Governor but we are hearing he is taking a long look at the U.S. Senate seat.  We cannot say we blame him.  This seat could be competitive for the first time in a few decades and the Republican Party Primary is likely going to leave the eventual nominee in a precarious financial condition.  Besides, who would want to match up against Mike Pence for Governor at this point.

We’ve also heard that Dr. Woody Myers may be planning to throw his hat in the ring as well.  Myers has served as Indiana Health Commissioner and has run for office in Indianapolis several times including a losing bid in Democratic primary prior to the special election to fill Congressman Julia Carson’s 7th District seat.