Burned on Burn Rates

We read a blog post last night over at Ogden on Politics that made us shake our heads.  Paul was talking about his favorite political topic:  burn rates.  It is a fun term and makes him feel like an expert.  We understand.  It is fun to feel smarter than everyone.  The problem is that just because you know the term doesn’t mean you really understand it.

Ogden took City-County Councilor At-Large Angel Rivera to task for burning “through nearly 90% of his campaign funds.”  He said Rivera’s report “reveals that he raised $10,515 in 2010, and spent $9,418, an off-year “burn rate” which is nearly an astonishing 90%.”

Paul doesn’t seem to be aware that Rivera became the at-large councilor when former At-Large Councilor Kent Smith resigned his position last year.  Marion County Republicans held a countywide caucus to fill the position last February.  Since several candidates were seeking the position and it was a countywide caucus, it is safe to assume that it was necessary to send mailers to precinct committeemen and engage in other activities that cost money.  Rivera has only been in office 10 months and we are sure he plans to protect his seat.

UPDATE:  Ogden did another post saying Rivera’s post-caucus burn rate was even higher.  If you look at the report, it is pretty clear Rivera did some thank you letters, paid some bills, and made contributions to the Council Caucus account, Republican organizations and candidates up in 2010.  Sounds like a team player to us.


Mayor’s Race Round-Up: Weinzapfel and Wright Out for Mayor. Weinzapfel in for Governor?

There have been a few interesting developments regarding Mayor’s races around the state and we’ll plan to do some periodic coverage of what is happening outside of the Indianapolis Mayor’s Race.  If you have friends that want their local race or candidate to get a look from us, have them email us at washingtonstreetpolitics@gmail.com.

This week, we have Evansville and Beech Grove. Today, Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel announced he will not be seeking re-election as Mayor.  Weinzapfel has widely been speculated to be a potential candidate for Governor and this announcement should increase the chatter.  We’re betting that Weinzapfel will run.  As Eric Bradner said, “the question now isn’t if, but when Jonathan Weinzapfel will announce he is running for governor.”

Last night down in Beech Grove, Mayor Joe Wright surprised almost everyone by handing in his resignation at the council meeting.  Abdul noted there is speculation that it is regarding the finances and over on channel 6 news they are saying it is due to his private sector employment requiring more time.   We’re hearing that Mayor Wright is quite vulnerable and was not expected to be slated or able to win a primary challenge. 

Indianapolis City-County Councilor Susie Day has been eyeing a run at Beech Grove’s top spot for the last several months and, from what we’ve been told, would probably be able to win a slating contest. We’re hearing Mayor Joe Wright didn’t appreciate being challenged and is resigning in an effort to get his chosen successor in office and an upper hand in slating.  His position will be filled in a caucus of Beech Grove precinct committeemen.

Jon Elrod Takes Ed Coleman to Task

This morning we received a tip on some Facebook Fun from last night.  It seems Jon Elrod, former State Representative, had enough of Ed Coleman’s hypocrisy and turned the frustration into a Facebook note. 

Coleman, an at-large councilor elected as a Republican, changed Party affiliations to be a Libertarian.  This week, Coleman was featured in a press release from the Libertarian Party saying,

“When I ran as part of the 2007 GOP campaign team, it was because I and other small government advocates believed Greg Ballard’s promise to reform government and reduce the spending. It was broken promises like this that prompted me to abandon the failed Republican Party and its bloated-government policies.”

Elrod responded in a Facebook note saying,

“Broken promises?  How about running as a Republican and serving as a Libertarian?  Or did Mayor Ballard break your heart so much that you questioned your entire political affiliation?

As one of thousands of Republican volunteers, donors, and voters, who helped elect Ed Coleman, pardon me if I ignore his advice on broken promises.

Ed, that failed Republican Party actually got you elected.  Let me know when that successful Libertarian Party makes that happen for you (or anyone).

As they say in the Nike commercials, BOOM.

Props to Advance Indiana (again)

While we don’t always agree, we need to give some props to Gary Welsh over at Advance Indiana.  Yesterday, there was a post on a local blog (yes, it was Paul Ogden though we really don’t want to always fight with him) focused on the towing deal and singling out a few councilors, specifically City-County Councilor Bob Lutz as having an ownership in Zores Inc. and serving as their attorney.

Clearly the author did not do the follow-up that Gary Welsh did.  Gary commented

Paul, Bob Lutz explained his disclosure to me on his statement of economic interest concerning  Zore’s Inc. He said he does not have an ownership interest in the company. He performs legal work for the business in excess of $5,000 a year. I suggested to him the disclosure forms be revamped so the public could better understand what interest the public official is disclosing rather than grouping under one question having an ownership interest, serving as an officer or being compensated by the entity. Unless the official specifies the disclosure, it could be any of the three. The lobbyist registration for Zore’s Inc. is rather new; it wasn’t listed the last time I looked at the database a couple of weeks ago. Good catch.

Props to Gary for actually following up and asking Lutz for the details.  It is good to know someone is asking questions before throwing out blind accusations.

Parking Deal Wrap-Up (Finally)

This morning the internets have been going wild since the Indianapolis Council passed the parking deal 15-14 last night.  There have really been two hot topics on the deal.

  1. 1.  Indianapolis Times has a poll that was supposedly done by former supporters of the parking deal saying the deal is unpopular. Paul Ogden wonders why the poll was never released and speculates it was done by the Ballard folks.  His logic is that the Ballard team wouldn’t release negative polling numbers for their project so it must be their poll.

First off, this poll is junk. It doesn’t give you any indication of what they actually asked.  Anyone who knows anything about polling knows the phrasing of the question determines the answer from the respondent.

Second, there is no way that a poll done by Ballard’s team would find its way into Terry Burns’ hands.  It simply is not possible. If someone was going to leak information to a blog because they didn’t like the deal, there is no way they would leak it to the local Democrat blog.  This is a Democrat poll. 

Which does beg the question why it was never released if the findings are so negative for the deal?  Our guess is that the question was completely skewed and the poll over sampled Democrat areas like Center Township and under sampled Republican areas like Franklin Township.

2.  Ryan Vaughn is an evil yes man for Barnes and Thornburg and should have recused himself from the vote. Plus, he is strong arming Republicans.

Our take:  Seriously?  First off, ACS is not one of Ryan Vaughn’s clients. Since he is not a partner in the firm and ACS is not his client, Vaughn has no conflict. He receives no payment to work on behalf of ACS and his salary is completely unrelated to their success or failure.

And while Paul Ogden may think he knows how things really work in the supposed smoke-filled backroom, there is no way Vaughn’s job was at risk if he didn’t vote for the parking deal.

As for the supposed strong arming, Christine Scales indicated she was going to vote against the parking deal.  Later that day, she was informed that Aaron Freeman would take her place on the public safety committee.  It makes a lot of sense that Freeman, a former deputy prosecutor and new councilor, should serve on the public safety committee.  We’re going to guess this was in the works for quite some time.

If you ask us, the city is going to increase revenues brought in off the meters, use the revenues to make our streets and infrastructure better and get meters that take credit cards installed and operated on ACS’ dime. (Note:  We may be a little biased since we encountered a defective meter that wouldn’t take 3 of our 4 quarters this morning and thought it would be great to be able to use a credit card right now instead of running the risk of getting a parking ticket.)

Does ACS benefit from this deal?  Of course—last we checked you don’t get something for nothing.  That said, this is a good  move for a city that has been in need of long-term vision to really reach its full potential.

Matt Tully: No one cares about the parking deal. Agreed.

Tully, we couldn’t agree more.  This is all inside baseball that only people who like to complain about literally everything that happens have time to care about.  I’m sure everyone knows exactly what blogs I am talking about.

Local Bloggers: Advance Indiana, One Point. Paul Ogden, Negative One Point

We wanted to take a second to give some kudos and criticism to two of our local bloggers. 

Kudos to Advance Indiana for their post on the internal report released last week on the Bisard case.  Gary Welsh was fair and accurate on the reporting on this one.  We were swamped at the end of the week and were glad someone had a good post on the subject. 

So Gary, don’t say we never gave you any credit for being accurate on something.  Eventually, we’ll probably have to disagree like we’re about to with your friend, Paul Ogden.

Ogden did a post over the weekend on the Republican Council proposing an extension on the wheel tax and vehicle excise tax.  Ogden, as usual, is trashing the Republicans and Mayor Ballard for being tax and spenders.  He also throws in that Ballard must be trying to lose the election.

Ogden, however, has got the story wrong on this one. If he would check out IC 6-3.5-5-7, he’d see that rates of the wheel tax are determined by the state and cannot be lowered if any portion of a loan obtained by the county under IC 8-14-8 is unpaid, or if any bonds issued by the county under IC 8-14-9 are outstanding.  As we all know, the county has plenty of loans and outstanding bonds from prior administrations.