Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Tuesday was the Libertarians's day. Now for Wednesday's analysis...

Obviously, what Councilor Coleman has done is done, but it says something when the universal reaction in the blogosphere was he should have remained a Republican. The other universal thread was that each blog used Coleman's announcement to advance its own agenda. The libertarians used it to promote their political party. Paul Ogden and Gary Welsh used Coleman to advance their hatred of the Republican majority in City Government.

Ogden summarizes his thoughts as such: "The Indianapolis City-County Council would be a far better place if we had more leaders like Ed Coleman and fewer sell-outs like Ryan Vaughn."

But what have these two men brought the council? Both have sponsored ceremonial resolutions honoring constiuents. Vaughn, as Chairman of the Public Safety Committee has also sponsored numerous appointments and fiscal ordinances initiated by corresponding agencies.

According to the Council's Ordinance Tracking System, Coleman has sponsored only two non-ceremonial proposals:
  • Proposal 348-2008: Restricts citizens' rights to discharge fireworks
  • Proposal 63-2009: Permanently gives the right to read memorials at council meetings from the President's designee to the Minority Leader

In comparison, Vaughn sponsored the following two non-ceremonial proposals over the same time period:

  • Proposal 326-2008: Would have allowed taxpayers who received egregiously late tax bills to pay those bills in reasonable installments
  • Proposal 524-2008: Reduced the Township Assessors salaries during the final two years of their terms in which they do not have to do a minute of work

So, Ed Coleman's only two legislative proposals have been to restrict freedoms (very libertarian) and aid Democrats. Vaughn actually supported taxpayers with his legislative initiatives.

Yet, Vaughn is attacked because of his lawfirm affiliations while Coleman is praised because he attacks the people Paul Ogden hates.

Sounds more like Vaughn is the leader and Coleman is the sell-out.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Paul Ogden Farts in Tom John's General Direction

Hopefully you all get the Monty Python reference. I think the analogy is rather appropriate. In the film, King Arthur approached a French Castle on a serious mission. The French responded to Arthur with insults and nonsense. Similarly, while Mayor Greg Ballard and GOP Chairman Tom John apporach politics with seriousness, Paul Ogden cannot hide his contempt towards the two and conspequently spews insults and nonsense.

Today, Ogden writes about Mayor Ballard's endorsement of John in next month's Chairman election. As you surely know, Paul Ogden dislikes Tom John because he is a lawyer at a large Indianapolis Law firm. He also dislikes the Marion County GOP establishment because Ogden was not slated for County Clerk in 2002. Since John is a lawyer at a big firm and part of the establishment, Ogden hates Tom John and is biased against him.

I posted the following Comment to Ogden on the matter: "What about 2007? If you are going to hold John responsible for losing in the Obama Tsunami in 2008, you should give him credit for going 4-1 in 2007. Conversely, if you don't give him credit for 2007 because the taxpayer revolt has out of Tom John's control, you should also not hang 2008 around his neck because the Obama Tidal Wave was also not in Tom John's Control."

Ogden's response should be enlightening. The typical belief held among the Ogdenites and fellow bloggers like Welsh and HFFT is that they and angry taxpayers got Ballard Elected, while Tom John and the Marion County GOP did nothing. While that may be factually inaccurate, the short version is that they do not give Tom John credit for the victories he presided over in 2007. Yet, in 2008, when every Republican in Marion County-wide lost except Mitch Daniels, under a similar wave of voter demand for change, they hold Tom Johnresponsible in a Catch-22.

Of Course, Ogden will not run for County Chairman because he doesn't think he can win. But what would Ogden do as Chairman that would move the GOP forward? After all, Ogden has given Republicans the rancidly bad advice that they should not go after corrpt Democrats like Doris Minton-McNeill, Ken Ackles, or Frank Anderson, but instead begin a witch hunt to investigate the Ballard Administration because Ogden does not like Bob Grand or his fellow attorneys at Barnes and Thornburg.

The Ogdenites claim Democrats are rejoicing at Tom John's re-election. If Paul Ogden were elected Republican Chairman on his agenda of ignoring corrupt Democrats and instead going after the County's top Republican, Democrats might go into full-on orgasm.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is Barnes and Thornburg Derangement Syndrome really just Pay-To-Play Jealousy?

The Indianapolis Star this morning ran an editotial in support of an Indiana Senate proposal to strengthen open records laws. A common sense proposal.

Of Course, Paul Ogden uses the opportunity to decry his archenemy, the law firm of Barnes and Thornburg.

As readers of this and Mr. Ogden's blog know, Mayor Greg Ballard has relied on several Barnes and Thornburg principals in appointed or contracted positions, and this has caused Ogden and his supporters to recruit folks against the Mayor. Ogden of course says he is trying to give Mayor Ballard the benefit of the doubt.

But when Paul Ogden states that the only way for Ballard to redeem himself to the Ogdenites is to fire the CIB Chairman, the Corporation Counsel, and the former Deputy Mayor who represents the city in the Legislature, there is no benefit of the doubt. Fair readers of the Indianapolis Blogosphere, Paul Ogden is lying to your face when he says he is giving Mayor Ballard the benefit of the doubt.

You see, Paul Ogden is a lawyer at a small law firm. A good portion of his practice is suing public entities. He has sued the CIB on behalf of various parties, Marion County on behalf of the disgraced County Coroner, and sued many other public entities. Many of the people Ogden sues are represented by the popular Republican law firm Barnes and Thornburg.

I will say I thought Ogden's lawsuit against the sale of RCA dome artifacts was a good act on behalf of taxpayers. Note that sale was put in motion by the Bart Peterson clan.

On other items though, you wonder if Paul Ogden is repeatedly suing government entities to collect an easy paycheck. What "Republican taxpayer advocate" would ever sue taxpayers to pay for a Democrat Coroner's salary when he was proven incopetent by State Testing?

But remember what Ogden has said: The misdeeds of Democrats are just a distraction form looking At Barnes and Thornburg. The firm, Ogden says, uses dispicable tactics that make (anonymous) fellow attorney's "sick." Perhaps it is because Ogden continually loses to Barnes and Thornburg that he finds them "dispicable."

Ogden's blog is heralded as looking out for taxpayers and the start of a Revolution., but compared to the works of Jennifer Wagner or Abdul hakim Shabazz, there is little readership, and only a handfull of the same people who comment:

  • Mary Jo Thomas: The only one to provide counterpoint to Ogden's defamation of Greg Ballard and the Republican Party.
  • Sean Sheppard and Patriot Paul: Good folks who do not bash the Mayor when Ogden bashes him. They keep things in perspective and are good people who should be lauded.
  • Leslie Sourwine: Handle Burlingtonasacoach. The opposite of Paul and Sean. Uses Ogden's blog to advocate for a recall of Ballard. The loon said recently: "Fact: I think Ballard is criminal ."
  • Diana Vice: Also does not bash the Mayor, but is grateful for Ogden's assistance in a legal case of hers involving Barnes and Thornburg. She does not attack other persons, just praises Paul. To each their own.
  • Gary Welsh. Author of Advance Indiana. Welsh has an agenda different than Ogden, but agrees with Ogden on their hatred of the CIB and Ballard's experienced advisors.
  • Melyssa Donaghy and Hooisers for Fair Taxation. A fixture on the local political and blogging scene, but by all accounts, she is upset that she and other bloggers (Ogden, Welsh, Darla Williams) were not hired into the Ballard administration. Melyssa recently wrote: "I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I think the only way the Mayor can save himself at this point is to put you two lawyers (Ogden and Welsh) on that board."

Ogden wants Barnes and Thornburg gone so he can finally win some lawsuits and make some money, but Melyssa hits the nail on the head of Ogden's blackmail. Mayor Ballard has to fire his experienced advisors and hire Ogden and his inexperienced cronies, billed as the true taxpayer advocates. If the Mayor does not, Ogden will organize opposition to his reelection, as he has already begun.

Don't be fooled. Paul Ogden is no Republican supporter. He is no taxpayer advocate. Paul Ogden is simply an advocate of Pay-to-Play Politics. He just wants the checks payable to Paul K. Ogden.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

When Paul Ogden gives Greg Ballard only one (bad) choice, of course he is doomed to failure.

Today the Indianapolis Business Journal published a story on the budget deficit facing the Capital Improvements Board, the municipal corporation which runs sports and other facilities in Indianapolis. According to the IBJ, Ballard is seeking a way to fund the shortfall without increasing the tax burden on Marion County residents.

As you might expect, Paul Ogden's, the so-called Republican taxpayer advocate, spin on it is that Greg Ballard and Bob Grand are trying to raise your taxes.

Let's be frank here: Paul Ogden is being hard-hearted and is dead wrong on this one.

The only tax the article is quoted as being raised is that tax on hotel rooms in Marion County, a tax paid by tourists and visitors. The article aslo states that Ballard would shift around existing tax revenue to make up the rest of the shortfall. Finding money in the existing budget is the sensible way to deal with deficits, one that does not raise taxes.

Ogden's real beef is 1) Bob Grand is involved, and Ogden has a visceral hatred against the attorney; and 2) Ogden's proposed solution is to renegotiate leases with the major sports tenants to have them pick up the tab. Renegotiation is also a fiscally responsible solution, but one that is neither politically tenable or realistic.

To be frank again, when a city makes the commitment to be the home of a major sports franchise, it is going to come at taxpayer expense. In terms of sheer budget numbers, municipally run stadiums cost more money than the direct tax revenue they bring in. What they do add to the community is tourist revenue and a quality of life factor, where business might be more willing to locate to a "Big League City."

Fact #2 on sports teams: Indianapolis, the crossroads of America, is within four hours of four different NFL franchises. While that may aid the development of rivalries on the field, it restricts growth potential of your fan base. An independent media market within two hours of your NFL city is normally a feeding ground for revenue growth for your franchise. But Dayton, Ohio, one such city, is in Cincinnati Bengals country and is more likely to broadcast a Cleveland Browns Game than an Indianapolis Colts game if the Bengals are not on Sunday. Indianapolis is not a naturally ideal market for an NFL franchise, but the city chose to make a comitment to having such a franchise, and that will come at a premium of public financial expense.

Fact #3: Modern sports hospitality benefits the franchises, not the municipality, in terms of ublic financing. Did the CIB under Bart Peterson give the Colts a very good sweetheart deal in leasing Lucas Oil Stadium? The enswer is an emphatic yes. But is that the type of deal a mid-major sports market like Indianapolis needs to make in order to keep such a team.? Unfortunately, the answer is also yes, given Indianapolis is a lower-tier NFL media market too close to Chicago, St. Louis, and Cincinnati.

So while Paul Ogden states that Mayor Ballard keeps falling on its sword for Bart Peterson, the more accurate description is that Indianapolis will have to keep falling on its sword to keep the Colts in Indianapolis. Despite that fact, the Ballard plan rumored to be put forward is not a bad deal for Marion County taxpayers given the circumstances.

Now, you could always argue it would be better for the Colts to leave town, but we'll let Paul Ogden make that argument. You would have to be a nutjob to get away with it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Paul Ogden represented Incompetent Coroner against Taxpayers

Many movies have scenes where some person involved in a nefarious conspiracy is revealed to be someone who was originally introduced as a protagonist. One of my favorite examples was in the 1987 film version of Dragnet. In Dragnet, a woman is kidnapped by the People Against Goodness and Normalcy (P.A.G.A.N). When she unmasks their leader at a rally, it is revealed to be the Rev. Jonathan Whirley, a televangelist who heads the Moral Advance Movement of America, well -respected by his followers as a person of the highest-ethical standards whose reputation was beyond reproach.

Such glowing praise is also bestowed upon blogger Paul Ogden. Ogden's public blogging vendetta against the law firm of Barnes and Thornburg has forced Ogden to publicly criticize Mayor Greg Ballard for alleged transgressions. When people point out the flaws in Ogden's rhetoric, Ogden's supporters try and shoot the messenger, while professing reaffirmation in Ogden's supposed goals of strengthening the GOP by revealing public conflicts of interest and protecting taxpayers.

Yet, Ogden has written that we should ignore conflicts of interest in the affairs of Sheriff Frank Anderson, City-County Councilor Doris Minton-McNeill, and certain law firms, instead saying the GOP should focus its efforts in going after Ballard Barnes and Thornburg. But his supporters insisted he makes these claims to protect taxpayers. We thought this to be the case ourselves, that is, until we saw Paul Ogden's writings on his relationship with disgraced Marion County Coroner Ken Ackles.

Ackles' tenure since succeeding John McGoff as Marion County Coroner was tumultuous at best. His office was accused of mixing up corpses and stealing personal items from corpses. His office was also sued several times for employment discrimination. He also was criticized for deputizing nearly every staff member as a Deputy Coroner, including his janitorial staff.

Perhaps Ackles best known recent antics, though, were when the City-County Council, pursuant to state law, voted to withhold Ackles pay. The state law in question was passed when two college students were involved in an auto accident. One perished, the other remained horribly maimed and in a hospital. After the funeral, it was discovered the women's identities were mixed up. As a result, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law that County Coroners, until that time not required to have any job requirements outside of being a Doctor in some health related discipline, complete training and pass tests to prove competency. The incentive for Coroners to complete this requirement was that they would have their pay withheld if they did not pass the tests by a certain date, withheld until they completed the testing.

Ackles, a chiropractor before his election as coroner, failed certain tests and failed to complete the training. The Council, following law, began the process to withhold his pay. However, Ackles refused to appear before the Council committee, instead sending a deputy and an attorney, who threatened to sue the City and County if they passed the ordinance required to withhold Ackles pay. That did not go over well, and the Council voted to withhold the Coroner's pay.

Ackles did sue, as promised, but with a new attorney. Ogden gleefully discussed his involvement with the case on his blog, as it brought him and his law firm media attention:

"Last Friday, I filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Marion County Coroner who had had his pay withheld by the Indianapolis City County Council since March for not completing a training course. The lawsuit basically involved a couple dry technical legal issues...The media, however, did not find it to be a dry issue. On Tuesday, I found myself being interviewed on-air by Pam Elliot of WISH-TV and Norman Cox of WRTV. I also received a call requesting information from the Indianapolis Star. The article appeared this morning."

Within the past week, Paul Ogden praised State Senator Mike Young, a Republican, for his 2007 hostility towards Tom John's election as Marion County GOP Chairman (Ogden does not like John that much either). Ogden said in that blog post:

"His (Senator Young's) willingness to publicly oppose Tom John as chairman in 2007 is a testament to his character."

What does Paul Ogden's willingness to represent Ken Ackles in his lawsuit against Marion County say about Ogden's character? Ackles is another Democrat who has been under fire for violating the public trust. His reputation was so poor that Marion County Democrats, unable to get him to withdraw before their slating, forced Ackles to withdraw as a candidate just two days later. Ackles gave the public a middle finger by refusing to testify on the pay withholding after being invited by the Council's Administration and Finance Committee. After refusing to appear open and in the public on the issue before the County's fiscal body, he sued the County, wasting taxpayer dollars on a silly lawsuit that could have been avoided if Ackles could have proven he was a competent Coroner. Yet, instead of criticizing such a foolish folly wasting taxpayer dollars, Paul Ogden filed the lawsuit for Ackles and against taxpayers.

So to recap, Paul Ogden, Republican taxpayer advocate, accuses Republicans of wrongdoing with no public, attributable evidence, absolves Democrats of wrongdoing despite public, attributable evidence, and now sues taxpayers on behalf of an elected official proven incompetent by standardized testing.

The more and more we look at what Ogden writes on topics not related to Barnes and Thornburg, the more the evidence mounts that Paul Ogden is no Republican friend of the taxpayer. The Ackles example is the most shameful example. Why is Ogden doing this? Our examination will continue...

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ogden: Ignore Frank Anderson; Go After Mayor Ballard

I my opinion, the best TV show of all time was The Twilight Zone. Its ironic endings and use of science fiction to analogize on political and social norms and themes still make it relevant today 50 years after it debuted. One of those themes was that we will encounter folks whose intentions are not what they seem. Two clasics on the subject: "The Hitch-Hiker," where a woman encounters a hitchiker who is Death in disguise, and "To Serve Man," where a supposedly altruistic alien species befriend mankind only for mankind to find out it is to turn them into the aliens' supper.

This is a theme that comes to mind as we examine why blogger Paul Ogden has an obsession with Barnes and Thornburg and publicly criticizing Mayor Ballard. As Paul wrote on his blog today, Ogden reinforced both his opposition to "pay-to-play" politics and his commitment to building a stronger Republican Party. That is what he says publicly when specifically addressing the subject, but his writings say something completely different. As you have seen already, he prefers to criticize Republican Greg Ballard, who has done nothing wrong, over Democrat Doris Minton-McNeill, who has been charged with three felony counts involved in assaulting a police officer. Next, let us examine his thoughts on Sheriff Frank Anderson.

To be up front, Paul Ogden has written frequently and critically on Anderson's administration of Marion County's Jails and their privitization. More on that later. But in October, there was an opportunity for Ogden to opine directly on Anderson and "Pay-to-Play" legal contracts, the frequent subject for which he criticizes Ballard.

In October, the Indianapolis Star published a story on Sheriff Frank Anderson's outside legal contracts with the law firm of Locke Reynolds. Ogden accordingly wrote a blog post, but instead of praising the Star for its investigatove reporting, Ogden expressed disappointment. This about says it all:

"Every Indianapolis lawyer waking up this morning seeing that story has to be
wondering the same thing. Why did the Star decide to focus on Locke Reynolds
rather than the more obvious beneficiary of city legal business since January 1
- Barnes & Thornburg?"

Given his analysis of Minton-McNeill, it is not terribly surprising on its surface that Ogden, despite his so-called Republican status, wants the powers that be to scrutinize the Republican Mayor over a Democrat with public evidence against him, evidence which Ogden again omits from his analysis. Ogden completely neglects to tell his readers of the prinicpal attorney in the Locke Reynolds contract, Kevin Murray, was also a paid campaign official for Frank Anderson's campaigns for sheriff. That is a direct pay-to-play conflict, one far worse than the supposed infractions by Barnes and Thornburg that Ogden harps about.

Even more revealing is that Ogden goes out of his way to praise Locke Reynolds for how they handle legal cases. Note that Ogden regularly supplements his Barnes and Thornburg diatribes with anecdotes of how he and other anonymous, unnamed attorneys hold Barnes and Thornburg in low esteem.

To recap, Paul Ogden contends his attacks on Mayor Ballard are to help Republicans and to protect taxpayers against corruption/conflicts of interest. Yet, with both Doris Minton-McNeill and Frank Anderson, cases with hard evidence of conflicts of interest, supposed Republican Paul Ogden says ignore the Democrats and instead investigate Mayor Ballard.

Now those who defend Paul Ogden will quickly note that Paul has gone after Sheriff Anderson on his CCA privitization contracts. What is the key difference between the pay-to-play with Kevin Murray Ogdne ignores and the CCA issue Ogden derides? Murray is with Locke Reyonolds and CCA is a client of Barnes and Thornburg.

Why does Paul Ogden only want Barnes and Thronburg investigated? Our examination will continue...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ogden: Minton-McNeill a Distraction from Barnes and Thornburg

The phrase "don't look behind the curtain" is of course a reference from The Wizard of Oz, itself a political satire. At first, the wizard seems to be this grand ethereal figure, but it is soon revealed it is an optical illusion as the real person behind the curtain is far more disappointing. As a result, the man behind the curtain begs the audience to ignore him and instead pay attention to the show he has carefully set up.

So as we began our examination of whether Paul Ogden has an unhealthy obsession with Barnes and Thornburg, resulting in biased and unfair coverage of Mayor Greg Ballard and local Republicans, we began to see evidence that when it comes to unsavory politicians in Marion County, Paul Ogden wants you to pay attention to his Barnes and Thornburg expose and ignore other far more blatant examples of persons violating the public trust.

One such example was Paul Ogden's sole post on City-County Councilor Doris Minton-McNeill (D-Dsitrict 15). Ms. Minton-McNeill was arrested this summer and charged this fall with multiple felony counts of assault and battery against a police officer. By most accounts, Minton-McNeill called police to report an unwanted guest at a party at her home whom she believed was a sex offender. When police arrived, the guest in question had left, but Minton-McNeill was drunk and beligerent towards police. A shouting match then escalated to where Minton-McNeill allegedly shoved one of the police officers, knocking her to the ground where she sustained a minor injury.

In October, after Minton-McNeill was charged by a special prosecutor (a fellow Democrat), Ogden on Politics wrote a blog post on the subject on why he would not write on the subject. Ogden had three points:
  1. "I have done some criminal defense work and I see people charged all the time who turn out to be not guilty."
  2. "I don't believe in judging people based on the worst moments of their lives."
  3. "The allegations against Ms. Minton-McNeil's do not involve a breach of the public trust or public corruption."

Point one is the classic "all persons are innocent until proven gulity in a court of law" response, although one might argue that Ogden affords Minton-McNeill this respect while he denies it to his fellow Republican Mayor. Point two is also, like point one, a description of how Mr. Ogden prefers to conduct himself.

But point three is a misrepresentaion, or ingorance, of the facts in the Minton-McNeill case as a political matter. First, Minton-McNeill is charged with assualting a police officer. As a City-County Councilor, Minton-McNeill was appointed (not elected, to fill Andre Carson's seat) to make laws and uphold them. Police officers, also known as law enforcement officers, embody a public's respect for the law. Attacking a police officer is a disrespect of the law and is a "breach of the public trust ."

Second, the police report of the incident stated that when confronting the police officers, Minton-McNeill grew upset that the police did not immediately do what she asked. McNeill went into her whom, grabbed her Council Business Cards, and shouted at the the police something to the effect of "Do you know who I am. I'm a City-County Councillor!" both when they did not immediately search her home and when they arrested her. The implication was Minton-McNeill tried to use her position of power to obtain special treatment that the public would not receive on their own. That is also a "breach of the public trust," and also gives us a hint that if in a higher position of power, Minton-McNeill would be prone to "public corruption."

Yet, Paul Ogden doesn't figure in his analysis that the alleged assault was against a police officer, nor that Minton-McNeill attempted to use her office during the incident. Instead, Ogden wanted you, the Indianapolis blogosphere, to ignore the Minton-McNeill distraction, which was taking good space away from Ogden's real issue: Barnes and Thornburg. Ogden wrote:

"I really think we conservatives and Republicans should devote our limited resources on those offenses that matter the most - those that involve public corruption, breaches of the public trust and unabated conflicts of interest among our elected officials. Every minute we spend outraged about Minton-McNeil possibly shoving a police officer is a minute we are distracted from exposing breaches of the public trust and working for a more honest and ethical government."

In other words, Paul Ogden doesn't want you to look behind the curtain at a real breach of the public trust like the foolish Doris Minton-McNeill. That issue takes away from Ogden's efforts to expose Mayor Ballard and Barnes and Thornburg!

So, why does Paul Ogden want you to ignore Doris Minton-McNeill and instead hold Mayor Ballard and Barnes and Thornburg in higher contempt? Our examination will continue...