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Monday, February 27, 2006

Travels with Graham

Fort Wayne Mayor Gets Around

Mayor Graham Richard has been traveling quite a bit lately to speaking engagements.

He was in Goshen last Friday to speak to the annual Goshen College business forum. The following is from the Goshen News story by reporter Tara Lane:
Calling himself one of the “faith of the frozen chosen” — an Episcopalian — Richard said he appreciates the service of private, not-for-profit organizations that are faith-based, such as Goshen College.

A former teacher, Richard said a commitment to building partnerships must include closing the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” and those who have earning power and those who don’t.

“We need to be sure that those who don’t have earning power have learning power,” he said.

One way Fort Wayne city officials use partnerships to boost learning power is through the redevelopment of the former Southtown Mall property. He said ground will soon be broken to build a 125,000-square-foot facility that will consist of numerous colleges offering courses in the same facility.

Richard said the partnership with the colleges will provide “state-of-the-art training” which will benefit everyone.

Another way Fort Wayne officials have used partnerships and worked to create a globally competitive city is though the use of fiberoptic broadband services. Richard said the broadband services help connect small businesses, schools and households. He said that with the services, individuals are able to take college courses they may not have had access to previously. Richard said 87 schools and about 110,000 households and businesses are able to use the service.

Richard also spoke about “Net Literacy” a program that originated in central Indiana but is now used in many other communities as well. The program relies on middle and high school students to volunteer to teach computer skills to low-income senior citizens and people who aren’t used to computers or the Internet.

He said the program “builds linkages with people who might not have those capabilities.”

Richard said that business practices including Lean and Six Sigma have been used in the city of Fort Wayne to increase productivity and decrease waste.

“Lean” thinking provides a way to do more with less — less human effort, equipment, time and space. The Six Sigma philosophy works on reducing waste and focuses on increasing satisfaction while simultaneously increasing profits.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Photos from the County Republican Convention

An online photo album of pictures taken at yesterday's Allen County Republican Convention can be found here.

Photo of Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita and Margaret Ringenberg, an Indiana "Living Legend" featured in Tom Brokaw's book, "The Greatest Generation." Both are pilots.

The Story Outside the Republican Meeting

There was another story going on outside the Allen County Republican Convention.

Protesters of Bush Administration policies were carrying signs peacefully on the sidewalk outside the main entrance to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

Blogger Robert Rouse of Fort Wayne was photographing the people on the sidewalk for a report on his weblog Left of Centrist. According to Mr. Rouse' first-hand account, a security officer for the Coliseum approached him to have him stop taking photographs.

The rest of his report can be found here.

Indiana Parley and Fort Wayne Observed support Mr. Rouse's right as a citizen to take photographs on public property. Indiana Parley and Fort Wayne Observed further support the ability of weblog journalists to conduct reporting as any reporter for the traditional media.

Mr. Rouse has done original reporting on his weblog in addition to opinion and commentary.

There is an implication by some of those who have left comments on his site that the security officer's actions were tied to the fact that there was a Republican meeting at the Coliseum. Indiana Parley doubts that there was any more connection other than overzealous security staff. However, IP will be asking additional questions of the Memorial Coliseum.

If Mr. Rouse had wished to enter the Republican meeting I believe he would have been welcomed and offered a donut.

However, the actions of the Coliseum security personnel and of a Fort Wayne police officer (as reported by Mr. Rouse earlier in the week when he took photographs of a shooting in his Lakeside neighborhood) highlight an important issue. That is the right of citizens and of new media in a world where technology is rapidly changing the way news is reported.

Photo above: Coliseum sidewalk photo taken by Robert Rouse. Photo copyrighted by Robert Rouse.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

State Senator Dennis Kruse

State Senator Dennis Kruse gives his views on the Allen County Republican Convention and the 2005 session of the Indiana General Assembly.

this is an audio post - click to play
(The Kruse audio post was slightly truncated due to time limitations.)

Allen County Council President Paula Hughes

Allen County Council President Paula Hughes talks about the convention and efforts at consolidating government.

this is an audio post - click to play

Photo: City Council member John Crawford, Hughes, and City Council member Don Schmidt.

Post Convention: Steve Shine Gives His View

Allen County Republican Chairman Steven R. Shine reflects on the Convention at its conclusion. He also comments on his Democratic counterpart, Kevin Knuth.

this is an audio post - click to play

Photo: Douglas Foy and Steve Shine view the candidate presentations. Mr. Foy is the Allen County Republican Executive Assistant.

Sheriff's Candidate Ken Fries Opens Up

Sheriff's candidate Ken Fries opens up about the Republican confab. The four candidates for Allen County Sheriff each spoke before the crowd. They then responded to questions from the audience. Here what Lt. Fries had to say by clicking the audio post button below.

The other three candidates are Guy Griffith, Mike Foster, and Mike Keesler.

this is an audio post - click to play

Matt Kelty on How the Commissioner Candidates Should Have Responded

Indiana Parley caught up with former state legislative candidate Matt Kelty right after the candidates for County Commissioner completed their presentations and the question and answer session that followed.

The question and answer session provided the most drama of the morning. County Council Member and candidate for re-election Cal Miller asked the candidates whether they supported having a single countywide vote on a consolidated government plan or two votes - one for those within the Fort Wayne city limits and one for those in the unincorporated areas, Cities of New Haven and Woodburn, and incorporated towns.

Indiana Parley would say that none quite answered the question directly. Mr. Kelty, a Fort Wayne architect, gave his opinion on how the candidates missed the mark.

this is an audio post - click to play

Photo: Kelty pictured during a meeting at Allen County Republican Headquarters in January, 2006.

State Representative Matt Bell

Indiana State Representative Matt Bell spoke with Indiana Parley early in the convention day about the current legislative session.

this is an audio post - click to play

Photo: Derek Pillie with State Representative Matt Bell. Mr. Pillie is the District Director for U.S. Representative Mark E. Souder.

Ongoing Reports from the Republican Convention

Indiana Parley is off to the Allen County Republican Convention at the War Memorial Coliseum.

We will be reporting from the floor. Expect to see Audio Blog posts during the day.

When you see a new Audio Blog symbol, click on the icon to hear interviews and reports from floor. Later on, we'll wrap explanatory text at each post.

The Straw Poll

Indiana Parley has teamed with Fort Wayne Observed to bring you a straw poll on the top contested Allen County races in the May Republican primary.

There may not be a straw poll at the County Republican Convention this weekend - but you will find one here.

Just go to the right side of the screen and cast your votes for the two county commissioner spots and the Sheriff's office. Allen County residents can cast votes both commissioner seats. While candidates must live in a specific district, the elections are county-wide.

You may vote once every 24 hours. The same poll is listed at FortWayneObserved.com. Results shown are an aggregate of votes cast at both IP and FWOb.

As with any of these online polls, this poll is not scientific and should not be relied on to purchase stocks or diagnose medical conditions. After voting, please use caution operating heavy machinery.

Editor's Note (February 25, 6:55 PM): An alert reader of Indiana Parley pointed out an error in the alphabetical listing of candidates for the office of Sheriff. A new poll has been posted with the names in proper alphabetical order. However, the staff of Fort Wayne Observed and Indiana Parley were unable to transfer the votes already cast for Sheriff to the new poll.

At the conclusion of the poll on March 7, the results in the Sheriff's poll to the time of the correction (approximately 6:50 PM on February 25) will be added to the results of the currently posted Sheriff's poll. We regret any confusion due to this correction. We appreciate the reader for bringing the error to our attention. We actively encourage readers to email us regarding any typographical or other errors.

The results as of the time of the correction were: Foster (8); Fries (27); Griffith (9); Keesler (7).

Coming Up: What WISH TV Left Out

Indiana's Positive Experience with New Technology for Elections

Later this weekend, Indiana Parley will be bringing you background information on the experience Indiana has had with the company providing the new technology for voter registration.

It's the history that WISH-TV could have told its viewers.

Separately, we hope to bring you an interview later today with Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita.

Friday, February 24, 2006

National Journal Releases Congressional Ratings

Souder's Conservative, But Not The Most Conservative Indiana Congressman

The well-respected publication, National Journal, released its Congressional Ratings today.

U.S. Representative Dan Burton (R-5) was ranked as Indiana's most conservative Congressional member with a 92%. U.S. Representative Julia Carson was ranked as the least conservative at 16.3%.

Most to least in order: Burton; Mike Pence (89.3); Mike Sodrel,(88.3%); Souder(82%); Chris Chocola (77.5%); Steve Buyer (76.8%); John Hostettler (63.8%); Peter Visclosky (28.5%); and Carson.

Senator Richard Lugar had a composite score of 52.8%. U.S. Senator Evan Bayh had a composite score of 29.3%.

The composites were based on an average of percentages for economic, social, and foreign policy issues. Rankings were different for these individual issue blocks.

For example, Senator Bayh was ranked as the most liberal member of the Indiana Congressional delegation with a score of 10%.

Congressman Souder was the second most conservative member as ranked on economic issues at 94%. Only Mike Pence was higher at 97%. No other members were above 90%. However, Souder was ranked as the fourth most conservative on social issues.

WLZQ FM 101.1 Added to Links

Q101 Has Story on Teen Alleged to Have Killed Mother With Sword

WLZQ Radio served the communities of Columbia City, Warsaw and North Manchester.

The main story today concerns a rural Cromwell teen who allegedly stabbed his mother to death with a sword near the eastern shore of Lake Wawasee.

Welcome to Fort Wayne

New Resident goes to the Pine Valley BMV

Fort Wayne Observed has the story on Krista, a new resident of Fort Wayne, who chronicled her experience with Hoosier Hospitality at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Note to Indiana Politcos: If Your Staff Schedules an Interview with the Daily Show...

It's a Spoof. Governor of Illinois Didn't Know.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagoevich had an interview with Comedy Central's The Daily Show on his schedule.

He had never seen the show. He didn't know the name of the cable network had the word "comedy" in it. Kevin McDermott of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the story of the Governor and the interview which began to take an unfamiliar turn for him.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich, giving an interview to a television crew in Chicago recently, first suspected something was amiss when the interviewer cut him off in mid-sentence to intone sternly: "I'll be in charge of what my listeners get to hear."

WISH-TV: Investigative Report Questions New State Voter Registration System

WISH-TV 8 News I-Team delivered a report last night claiming that the new state voter registration system doesn't work properly.

It also raised issues as to whether favoritism played a part in Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita's award of the $10 million contract to Quest Information Systems of Indianapolis.

The report cites a reply from Quest Information System's Bill McCully. McCully is a former member of the Republican caucus staff of the Indiana House of Representatives. He has also worked for the Indiana State Republican Central Committee.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Alex M. Writes a Review

Indiana Parley asked two people from different ends of the political spectrum to review the 2005 State of the Party speech by Allen County Republican Chairman Steve Shine.

The two are also generations apart.

What the Game's Been Missing author, Alex M., has posted his review on his weblog here.

Mr. M., 17, is a student at Fort Wayne's R. Nelson Snider High School. He has described himself on his weblog as "conservative but NOT a Republican."


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

In Lexington, a Local Wants to Buy the Knight-Ridder Herald Leader

Detailed Story on the Sale of Knight Ridder

Some of the best writing on the impending sale of Knight Ridder. The story by the Herald-Leader's Scott Sloan can be found here.

Lexington, Kentucky, Civic Leader Jim Gray is trying to put a deal together to return the Herald Leader to local ownership. The story tries to answer whether that is a realistic hope.

The Flip Side

Indiana Parley did a somewhat tongue-in-cheek analysis of Kevin Knuth's 2005 "State of the Allen County Democratic Party" speech on the eve of his 2006 address.

IP received a comment in reaction to that post from Deb. She wrote:

When will we see the same treatment of the GOP 2005 State of the Party address?

Well, Deb, that time is now. What follows is an analyis of Steve Shine's 2005 "State of the Allen County Republican Party" speech on the eve of the county Republican meeting this coming Saturday at the War Memorial Coliseum.

Like much of life these days, Indiana Parley outsourced the job. Not overseas, mind you; we kept it in the Hoosier State. It was outsourced to a Democrat - a liberal Democrat.

At first, IP thought it might be possible to do the analysis in-house. There were a couple of problems with that scenario. The main one was that my primary judgment was not with its content. It was that the speech was too long. What the speech needed most was a pair of scissors - it needed a copy editor first, not a critic.

In the end, IP made the judgement to farm out the task. You can judge the result for yourself. The author asked to remain anonymous and, after some discussion, IP decided to honor that request.

The product below was not produced by the staff or owners of Indiana Parley. Any comments made are not the views or opinions of the staff or owners of Indiana Parley and are solely those of the author.

Again, the format will be the text of the speech interspersed with the comments of the critic. We are retaining a two-color format to distinguish between the speech text and the commentary. The original speech text by Mr. Shine is the darker color; the commentary is in red.

2005 State of the Party Address
by Steven R. Shine

Thank you, Attorney General Carter, for your kind words of introduction.

We are honored that you took time from your busy schedule to be here today for this fifth annual celebration of the State of the Allen County Republican Party. There are many Republicans in Indiana in whom we take great pride.

Earl Langrebe and Chip Edwards, to name two that come to mind.

Among those accomplished public servants, you stand out as a genuine friend of the people.

From day one, you have taken to heart the significance of the job entrusted to you, and you’ve never lost sight of the good that it could do.

In 2001 you took the helm of an office that was in disarray and badly in need of a mission, and transformed it into a force for good in the everyday lives of all Hoosiers.

Personally knocking on the door of every women’s health clinic and asking for the private medical records of their patients has brought joy to our hearts and put fear in the hearts of the evil doers.

Your goal of bringing peace and quiet back to the dinner hour succeeded with the passage of Indiana’s Telephone Privacy Law –– better known as the no-call list. With your help, more than 3.5 million of us have been able to say “No” to unwanted telemarketing calls by adding our names to one easy-to-use list.

I wonder if Dale Sturtz and a few other Democrats may have spearheaded that idea. But once Attorney General, Steve Carter did run like heck to get in front of the parade to act like a leader.

The results of your first term as Attorney General have been magnificent... you’ve cleaned up Lake County politics.

It was the least Carter could do after the Democrats cleaned up Fort Wayne and Indianapolis politics.

You dramatically increased the return of unclaimed property to Hoosiers. You doubled the collection of money owed to the state and you cut in half the amount of money Indiana pays out in tort claim lawsuits and settlements.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicle License Branch broken leases won’t be settled for another year.

Thank you again for being here, and for being one of the many reasons Republicans have to celebrate the results of 2004. Isn’t it amazing, the difference a year can make?

Now that was prophetic.

On Election Day 2004, we delighted at one Republican success after another, from the White House to the Statehouse and the Courthouse. At the county level, Republican candidates won every single race. Our ticket leader, Allen County Coroner Dr. Jon Brandenberger, earned over 83,000 votes.

Thank God the dead can’t talk or vote.

In the race for Allen County Commissioner, the Democrats fielded their best candidate in a very long time. Yet our candidate for Commissioner, Nelson Peters, won by nearly 30,000 votes. One of the secrets to our insurmountable turnout in November was a get-out-the-vote partnership between the Allen County GOP and the Mitch Daniels for Governor Campaign.

And those paperless ballot machines from Diebold.

Together, we ran telephone banks, (the training learned in 2002 in New Hampshire paid off) recruited volunteers and registered people to vote. Together, we put out yard signs, knocked on doors and energized an electorate that was screaming for change. By turning out our base in historic numbers, Allen County helped Mitch Daniels carry Indiana –– and carry the Governor’s Office back into Republican hands for the first time since 1988. While the job isn’t officially his until next week, OUR Man Mitch has already shown this his will be an administration remembered for its committment to ethics, innovation and dedicated public service.

To say nothing about toll roads, time changes, and license bureau closures

A new era is about to dawn in Indiana. Our comeback is about to begin.

For that reason and so many others, it gives me great pride to come before you today –– for the fifth consecutive year –– to report that the State of the Allen County Republican Party is exceptionally strong. As this New Year begins, the Allen County GOP holds its strongest claim ever on the title, “Indiana’s Premiere Political Organization.”

Fully funded by (insert name of insurance salesman for county) who insures the party faithful - a good return on the public tax dollars.

The New Year never comes without change and this year will be no exception. As 2005 gets underway, we must bid farewell to a few good friends.

Tom Delay, Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff, Bob Ney, Larry Borst

After 40 years of leading City and County government, Allen County Commissioner Ed Rousseau retired at the end of 2004. Every corner of this county bears his fingerprints, (but mostly his footprints) from General Motors and Glenbrook Mall, to Uniroyal Goodrich and the Airport Expressway. Ed, you never stopped standing for your convictions. When cancer came along a few years ago, you told it to “take a hike” and you kept right on going. There are many people in this community, Ed, who are living great lives because of the work that you did. They thank you, and we thank you. We know that there will be many more opportunities ahead for you to contribute to our lives.

We also bid farewell in a few days to Wayne Township Assessor Jerry Zuber. Jerry has served this community with distinction for a decade, a difficult decade of reassessments and the transition to a new, market-based system of taxing property. His dedication to his work and his community shows. As he prepares to leave this demanding job, Jerry remains one of Allen County’s most respected and beloved public servants. We salute you, and we thank you for 10 years of dedicated service.

In 2004 we lost a great friend, State Senator ““Bud”” Meeks, who passed away in March. Bud represented Allen County in Indianapolis since 1998, after serving as Allen County Sheriff from 1975 until 1982. He served us proudly in many roles, including that of President of the National Sheriffs' Association. We will forever be thankful for Bud’s service and his friendship, and for the dedicated service of his wife, Marge, who continues to help us make headquarters tick.

A man that all politicians could take a lesson from when it comes to acting like a gentleman, showing human kindness and treating your adversaries with decency and respect. In the dictionary there is a picture of Bud beside the word “comity.”

The 2004 election was a reaffirmation of the values and ideas which we Republicans stand for.

Big spending, broken promises, and bazillions for corporate America.

The re-election of President Bush by more than 3 million votes showed that Americans have no appetite for the politics, practiced by others, of anger and division. They want leadership and they demand results.

Bring ‘em on, Mission Accomplished and, oh, by the way, you’re doing a good job Brownie.

For that, they turned to Allen County Republicans in historic numbers. Last year, I stood in this same place and told you that “Difficult days only make us stronger. Difficult times only make our victories sweeter.” Well, this past Election Night was pretty sweet...(An omen for the difficult days of 2005) In addition to a new Commissioner, we elected two new at-large members of County Council, Paul Moss and Patt Kite, and re-elected a third, Roy Buskirk. (I know what moss and a kite are but what the heck is a buskirk?)

We re-elected a Republican Treasurer and Surveyor, Bob Lee and Al Frisinger, and sent Mark Souder back for his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

He won’t keep his promise to only serve 6 terms, there are lighthouses to save and Reagan’s picture isn’t on the dime yet. Besides he is one of only two Representatives to vote for torturing terrorists.

And how about our results at the Statehouse? In a few days, leaders we re-elected in 2004, including David Long, Bob Alderman, Randy Borror, Jeff Espich, Phyllis Pond and Mike Ripley, (you take Bob Alderman out of that group and you have a cure for insomnia) will return to a General Assembly in which Republicans hold majorities in BOTH houses. For the first time since 1982, Republicans –– with Allen County leaders at the forefront –– will hold both houses of the Legislature and the Governor’s Office. Allen County’s delegation will enjoy unprecedented prominence in the years to come, with David Long serving as Senate Majority Leader,

“Let the word go forth that I will fight the little towns of Allen County and they shall not have a say in County government as LONG as there is a Fort Wayne.”

Jeff Espich chairing the House Ways and Means Committee (It’s a tough job cutting services to the people while protecting the corporate interests of Indiana, couldn’t do it without the help of the News Sentinel and Journal Gazette.) and our other representatives leading other important committees and subcommittees. At long last, Indiana will get to see the quality of leaders that Allen County sends to the Statehouse. (Why have we been waiting all this time?) As the General Assembly tackles a dizzying array of tough issues, including balancing a budget drowning in red ink, (that will take its toll road to solve) Allen County will show Hoosiers what leadership and fiscal discipline REALLY mean.

Yeah, carrying the Governor’s water at the expense of their constituents. May I suggest a time, change, closure of license bureaus and move others to buildings that the party owns so they can collect higher rents. Oh and he’ll sell the toll road to some foreigners. Why keep an asset that can make us money? Almost forgot lets blame the high property taxes on the Democrats and just to keep the peoples minds off this so they won’t know what time we hold hearing on these matters – let’s change the time.

The victories we enjoyed on Election Night felt like wonderful gifts, (political capital – the Republican gift card to Wal-mart) but we know that they were not. Because we are in an unprecedented position of power as we enter the New Year, we must be more diligent, more responsible and more worthy then ever before. Our friends and neighbors throughout this community did not give us a gift –– they gave us yet another opportunity to prove ourselves.

And line pockets with the dividends from the sale of the toll road

We are humbled by your support. No matter how large our margins of victory may be, we will never take success for granted, nor will we ever forget WHY you believe in the GOP.

Why is it they believe in the GOP? Wasn’t it supposed to be about balanced budgets, fiscal responsibility and less property taxes?

We will always hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards. Our bedrock principle will always be that Allen County Republicans stand for public service as much as we stand for winning. If you look at the statistics, 2004 can be considered nothing but an absolute success. After the challenges of 2003, we gathered ourselves up and worked harder than ever before to elect great candidates across the board.

And 2005 was so great once Republicans had a chance to control all three branches of the State Government.

How did we do it? By recommitting ourselves to the basics. (Smoke and mirrors, selling the toll road, closing the license bureaus, and changing the time. Heck, after all, these voters told Republicans it was time for a change.)

We redoubled our efforts to build Indiana’s strongest precinct organization. After all, our precinct committeemen and women are the grassroots of Republican success. Without them, the voters don’t know us. Without them, our polling places don’t open. They are the friendly, familiar face that our neighbors associate with the Republican Party. We worked harder than ever before to communicate with these essential foot soldiers in our organization, and to recognize how truly essential they are to our success. As you will hear in a few moments, we will empower precinct committeemen and women even more in the year to come. (At this point why didn’t Steve thank the party workers for being so good that they were able to do all of this with his blunders and side taking in inter-party squabbles.)

Our organizational efforts paid off handsomely, with 100 percent of our precinct boards filled well before Election Day. We maintained a full-time headquarters and staff, an asset that also paid huge dividends in the weeks before November 4th. Hundreds of people, hoping to register, to vote absentee or just to find information, came through these doors and found the help they needed. In 2004, we also met with Republican elected officials, the public face of all that we do, to find out how the Allen County GOP could serve them more effectively –– both inside and outside our own organization. At the end of this meeting, we came away with a list of almost 100 ideas.

Probably most were about how he should turn over the day to day duties to someone else, stay in the background and keep quiet.

This is important input, because, as an organization, the Allen County Republican Party can help our elected officials be even more successful, Republican officeholders need to know that we stand for more than getting them elected. This organization will be front and center to support their needs and to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them as they serve in office. When the results of 2004 are weighed, it is these efforts that will have made the difference. Historic levels of fundraising, (thank goodness for the insurance guy) an aggressive voter ID program, (made easier because Republicans will now require all of us to have picture ID’s) our best get-out-the-vote effort ever (Diebold will help make that exercise easier) and an army of volunteers bigger than any we’ve ever been able to field While television commercials, e-mail and web sites have become the leading tools of today’s campaigns, we proved in 2004 that the grassroots –– one-on-one contact with the people whose support we ask for –– counts as much as ever. So many times before, I have said this to you - Allen County Republicans are about more than the sum of the elective offices they hold.

We are about the sum of the contributions we make. We are about the number of diverse opinions, perspectives and faces we contribute to the political process. Once again in 2004, we fulfilled that promise. In September, our GOP Action Team, led by Mike Foster, sold barbeque chicken dinners at Georgetown Square Shopping Center that raised several thousand dollars to benefit the Martin Luther King Montessori School. This is a school that fills a vital role in our community by giving an educational head start to underserved, at-risk children.

Two years ago, we formed the GOP Action Team to find ways that we might contribute more to the Allen County community. Since then, the GOP Action Team organized school supply giveaways, a veterans’ fair and an elder law seminar. In 2003, the team held a “Support Our Troops” yard sign sale that raised $10,000 for the Allen County Council of Veterans. But this fundraiser for The Martin Luther King Montessori School was particularly special. The school provides preschool care to children age three to five. It is one of only two schools in the United States that offer top-tier, affordable Montessori education to low-income families.

In 2005, Republicans should have been asked to volunteer time at the License Bureaus so that they may get the license plates out on time.

As citizens above all else, we felt it was important to help this school fulfill its mission of building minds and building futures. Congratulations, Mike, and to the rest of the GOP Action Team for making a meaningful contribution to our community. A job well done!

We showed our enthusiasm on many fronts in 2004, in ways both large and small. On October 18 nearly 1,500 people joined us for the Allen County GOP Bean Dinner. It was our biggest event ever, as Michael Reagan He was a better pick than Nancy with stem cell research and all) delighted and touched us with stories of his father, former President Ronald Reagan, who sadly passed away in June. What a wonderful way to remind ourselves and our community, just weeks before Election Day, of the REAL values that Republicans stand for. Ronald Reagan taught the world the value of strength through willpower, values and compassion.

I’ll never forget the help he gave the nuns and priests in El Salvador.

In 2005 and beyond, we will continue to lead by doing what’s right and doing the things that inspire trust in our friends and neighbors. To begin this effort, I’m pleased today to announce two upcoming projects. (The closure of license bureaus and the sale of the toll road) In early 2005, Allen County Republicans will conduct a bi-partisan ethics seminar for elected officials countywide. Governor-elect Daniels has pledged that his administration will insist upon the highest standards for ethics and performance, (Tom Delay and Duke Cunningham and Ralph Reed will be coming to town)(After all he learned about both in Washington DC) and we will reinforce his commitment here at the local level.

Ask that insurance guy for another donation.

Improving the faith of citizens in government is a job for all of us, and the Allen County GOP will do its part.

Wanted them to buy that blind faith argument again. How did that go? “Just Trust Us”?

Allen County Republicans have led the way in recent years by training local officeholders and their employees in ethics and public records. As we do it again in 2005, I invite our friends in the Democrat Party to join us.

Thanks but no thanks. Hey, why don’t you invite that insurance guy.

Together, let us send a message to the people of Allen County. Let us send a message that adherence to the highest standards of ethical behavior shall be our hallmark. Citizens expect that they can trust the officeholders they elect. Our ethics seminar will reinforce that message and demonstrate clearly what is expected of those who are entrusted with the solemn duty of being stewards of the public’’s trust.

Your only in trouble if you get caught, and, thank God, there are not any Indian tribes in Allen County with casinos or wanting one.

A few minutes ago, I paid tribute to the work of our precinct committeemen and women. Without them, our organization simply does not function. During 2005, an off year for elections, we will be working on a new project to empower our precinct chairs like never before –– our first- ever Countywide Republican Convention, to be held on February 25, 2006 at the Memorial Coliseum. We will conduct this convention specifically to give our precinct chairs a more direct say in what our organization does. No longer can we only call on these dedicated Republicans to do just the hard work on Election Day.

Our precinct chairs represent the real grassroots of this community. They are elected, almost at a neighbor level, by their friends and neighbors. They are the face of the Republican Party at church, at the grocery store and at the PTA. For the past 12 years, empowerment has been the hallmark of the Allen County GOP. The other 91 counties in this state envy the example we have set here. Our prosecutor is a woman, and the majority of our County Commissioners are women.

And the insurance guy supports them all.

Allen County Republicans elected the first African American to serve as President of County Council, and they elected the first Hispanic American to sit on the same body.

We have led the way in empowerment, and in making sure that everyone with a stake in this party has the chance to put his or her hands on the wheel of power.

Our 2006 County Convention will be another step in our growth as an organization dedicated to its stakeholders –– all of them. It will be another GIANT step toward truly revitalizing the grassroots of our party.

The 2006 County Convention will be a first. The precinct chairs will have the chance to vote in a non-binding straw poll of our primary candidates. For the first time there will be an event dedicated solely to making the precinct chairs an integral part of shaping, testing and –– perhaps ultimately –– choosing those who will represent us in the 2006 election.

They could bring in Joe Andrews, our fomer Democratic State Chairman, to show how to run the straw poll and divide a party.

This will be much more than a show. (This will be a first class dog and pony show) The County Convention will lay the groundwork for an important election year. In 2006, we will elect a Sheriff, a Prosecutor, two Commissioners, four County Council members and many, many more. We must keep burning the fires in 2006 that we lit in 2004. We have heard that the opposition can’t win... Allen County is just too Republican. But you need only look to the first floor of the City- County Building for proof that the opposite is true. In 2006, we will be running against a Democrat incumbent in a county race, the race for Allen County assessor. Under the right conditions, a Democrat CAN win in Allen County.

Steverino got that right.

You have my pledge that your Allen County Republican Party will redouble its efforts this year and next to assure our continuity of success. In closing, I hope that you look forward to the future as much as I do. This year, we won’t get the chance to meet on Election Night. But we will have many chances to talk along the way, and many reasons to celebrate being Allen County Republicans.

It can be called, “Success with Mitch how we got the Ox out of the Ditch.”

Thank you again for all that you do. The demands on your time are immense, and I appreciate all that you give to the Allen County GOP. Our success belongs to you! Thank you for coming, and have a wonderful 2005.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Soros, Souder and CPAC

Souder Blasts Soros Involvement in the Recent CPAC Meet

U.S. Representative Mark Souder (R-3rd) placed a statement in the Congressional Record this week blasting Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference organizers for including representatives of George Soros-funded organizations in the conference.

CPAC is the largest gathering of conservatives held in the United States. It brings together over 4,000 conservative activists across a broad range of associations. This year's 33rd annual conference was held in Washington, D.C. a week ago.

Souder said:

One can imagine a conservative's surprise to read on the CPAC 2006 agenda that a representative of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is slated to moderate-yes, moderate-a panel Friday discussing drug policy. For those who are unacquainted with it, the pro-marijuana MPP has been funded by Soros in the past. Also represented on the panel is the Drug Policy Alliance, which is Soros' principal pro-drug arm. Incidentally, the moderator himself is a convicted drug dealer.

What on earth were the CPAC organizers thinking? Why would the American Conservative Union allow extremist liberals like George Soros and Peter Lewis (who is responsible for most of MPP's funding) to access a meeting of conservatives? And, in exactly whose estimation would there be balance in a debate moderated by the MPP?

More: Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid.
Counter-Point: Press release by Drug Policy Alliance.

Souder's Office Puts IP/FWOb on the Media List

Last week, IP urged elected officials, candidates and others to send press releases to the new media of weblogs as well as to old media outlets. The times have changed. The media landscape has changed.

It is time for those seeking dissemination of their news or their viewpoints to adapt to the changed landscape.

In particular, we were asking that the Fort Wayne Observed/Indiana Parley family of weblogs be placed on the contact list.

IP doesn't know whether our notice of receipt of a media release from William Larsen, candidate for the Republican nomination for the Unites States House of Representatives from Indiana's 3rd District, or the fact that Fort Wayne Observed original reporting was cited by national media like the Rocky Mountain News made a difference.

However, we are pleased to report that U.S. Representative Mark Souder's media office sent IP a release yesterday regarding the Congressman's co-sponsorship of House Bill 4777, a bill to ban offshore internet gambling.

The release was printed in full at Fort Wayne Insight.

Friday, February 17, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tomorrow: Expect Surprises

Tomorrow is the last day for candidate filings for the May primary. Indiana Parley is expecting some major surprises in Allen County.

Indiana Parley can report that there are substantial potential candidates who are debating entry into Allen County races on this eve of before the filing deadline.

These are potential candidates who have been on the ballot before. However, there has been very little speculation and very little talk about their possible candidacies before now.

Filing ends at noon tomorrow.

The Larsen Platform

The William Larsen for Congress campaign has sent IP a news release regarding his platform and views. Mr. Larsen is a candidate in the Republican primary for the 3rd District seat currently held by Mark E. Souder.

He has outlined his views on Social Security, combat readiness, energy independence, pension reform, identity theft, border security, civil liberties and check-cashing reform.

You can find his platform and biographical information at the Larsen campaign website.

IP thanks Mr. Larsen for including us on his media list. Mr. Larsen is the first candidate to treat the news and public policy weblogs as one would the old media. IP would recommend to candidate organizations and current elected officeholders that each follow Mr. Larsen's lead in this.

Fired Up at Indiana's News Center

IP doesn't want to overemphasize the posts regarding the use of stock photographs by Indiana's News Center (WPTA/WISE television) to accompany the text of stories on the news operation's website. There is a reason for the use of such photos.

The overuse, though, of photos which are wholly unrelated to the jurisdiction which is featured in a story can lead to a loss of credibility for the news staff by the viewers in those communities. It also gives the impression the news operation may be thinly staffed particularly when specific photographic representations are readily available.

A case in point: WPTA/WISE featured a story two days ago regarding a structure fire in Marion, Grant County, Indiana. The screen capture of that story and its illustration is shown here.

Yet there is a huge resource of Marion Fire Department photos available. They wouldn't need to send a staff photographer down to shoot a specific photo; they could gain permission from a photographer in advance.

There are plenty of marvelous photos of City of Marion firefighters and firetrucks here. It has to be one of the best and most extensive fire photo galleries of a fire department in the Midwest.

IP is showing just one of the photographs. However, there are many more photographs posted; the photos are even categorized by shift.

We are not sure where the Indiana's News Center stock firetruck photo was taken. Firefighters in Fort Wayne, City Of Marion , and New Haven have told IP that it does not show a truck in any of those cities' current fleet.

Indiana's News Center does not use this photo every time there is a fire story to illustrate. Last night's fire on West Main Street in Fort Wayne was represented by artwork, not a photograph of actual fire-fighting equipment.

The Marion Chronicle-Tribune story noted that the Marion fire at the empty Ball-Foster Glass Company building had been started by someone using a torch to attempt to illegally remove scrap metal from the structure.

Recent stories in Allen County have warned that thieves have become more brazen in attempting to steal metal, particularly copper, from building sites, residences and commercial structures.

"Move to Fort Wayne"

Lazy Muncie

IP is assuming there may be a few people left who haven't been forwarded an email in the last day or so regarding the humorous video "Lazy Muncie" with Chris Cox and Kirby Heyborne.

The video is a parody of a sketch featured on Saturday Night Live called "Lazy Sunday."

This comes with a slight bit of caution. There are a few ribald comments and four-letter words but, then again, Garfield cartoonist Jim Davis makes a brief appearance. This parody "rap" video may not be worksafe. Yet, it takes an affectionate look at life in Indiana.

You'll recognize some widely held truths about the state of Indiana. The remark about Fort Wayne is sure to make you laugh. American Idol Paula Abdul

Peninsula Press Club: Anschutz's considering L.A.? Bakersfield?

The Penisular Press Club, serving the media community of "the Bay Area, including the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey," credits Fort Wayne Observed with discovering the new URL registrations of the Clarity Media Group.

The FWOb report led the author to search for evidence of Clarity Media Group interest in other cities.

See Peninsula Press Club: Anschutz's considering L.A.? Bakersfield?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

It's Official - Real Journalism Practiced Here


It's official. We're real journalists.

The Rocky Mountain News has cited "media outlet" Fort Wayne Observed, the partner of Indiana Parley, as the news source for its story on media mogul Phil Anschutz.

Fort Wayne Observed broke this exclusive story of national interest earlier today. Here's The Rocky Mountain News story:
Anschutz registers Examiner name in Fort Wayne

By Rocky Mountain News
February 15, 2006

Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz may be planning to spread his Examiner newspaper chain into northern Indiana.

Anschutz, who bought the San Francisco Examiner a few years ago, then began a free-distribution Examiner in Washington, D.C., has trademarked the Web address FortWayneExaminer.com. The URL was registered by Anschutz's Denver-based Clarity Media Group on Feb. 10, according to media outlet Fort Wayne Observed.

Clarity has registered URL's for Examiner Web sites in 70 cities, including Denver.

Dick Bergman Leaving Scott's Foods

The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel is reporting that Dick Bergman, the head of Scott's Foods in Fort Wayne, Columbia City, Rochester and other Indiana communities, will be leaving his position.

Bergman will be taking an executive position with a grocery retailer in the Washington D.C. market which is also part of the SuperValu chain.

Mr. Bergman has overseen a substantial change in the positioning of Scott's in this market. He often appeared prominently in Scott's television and billboard advertising.

We wondered at the start of his personal appearances in Scott's advertising whether the grocery retailer and pharmacy chain was making an error in investing so much in tying Bergman's image to the institutional image of Scott's.

The News-Sentinel posted the story by reporter Cindy Larson on its website at 2:12 PM and labeled it as "Breaking News."

BREAKING: News Media News

Billionaire Getting Ready for Entry into Fort Wayne Print News Media?

See the exclusive story at Fort Wayne Observed.

Nancy Nall Salutes Nathan Gotsch

Former Fort Wayne News-Sentinel columnist Nancy Nall gives her thoughts about the contributions of Nathan Gotsch at her weblog at NancyNall.com.

Ms. Nall's column says this about the Fort Wayne Observed founder:

Nathan Gotsch has been working the Fort Wayne blogworld for the better part of a year, and not badly at all: All those stories he’d been doing about Fort Wayne topics, sometimes showing up or outright shaming actual paid local reporters in the process? He was living in L.A. most of the time. (”Has any editor in Fort Wayne approached you about maybe taking a job there?” I asked him once. After all, he can already write and work sources and demonstrates an eye for a good story. The answer: “No.” But of course. Not that he wanted a job there, but you know, you’d think someone might have made the gesture.) This week, though, he’s hanging up his cleats and turning the name, archives and all the rest of it over to ex-state legislator Mitch Harper, who’s now running Fort Wayne Observed.

Among Nathan’s many accomplishments in a short time is the humiliation and otherwise stick-a-fork-in-him-he’s-done barbecuing of the maroons at Mediawatch. (I’d link to the amusing podcast he did about their great copyright dispute, but it’s gone with the switchover. NO IT'S NOT: It's here.)

Cousin Willie Has Popped His Last Batch

Cousin Willie is dead.

Cousin Willie, whose full name is Wilfred Edward Sieg, Sr. died last week in Harrison County Hospital at Corydon, Indiana.

He had been president and general manager of the Ramsey Popcorn Company of Ramsey, Indiana for several decades.

Ramsey Popcorn is the fourth largest popcorn processor in the world.

Paddock and GiaQuinta

State Representative Ben GiaQuinta will not be running for re-election to his seat in the General Assembly.

His retirement may ignite a primary war of succession between Representative GiaQuinta's son, Phil GiaQuinta, and Fort Wayne School Board Member Geoff Paddock. Some wags have already tagged the prospective race as "Battle of the Bachelors."

The full story can be found on Fort Wayne Observed.

Once there, you'll note that Fort Wayne Observed will direct you back to Indiana Parley. In order to short-circuit the effect akin to pointing a television camera at a monitor of the shot we will avoid appending a note to the IP interview of Geoff Paddock we posted last Saturday that would direct you back to Fort Wayne Observed.

Note: "wags" - one of those terms used by newspapers which is not found in common use anywhere else.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine Art Party at the Kachmann Gallery

Art in Downtown Fort Wayne

The Kachmann Art Gallery on South Lafayette in downtown Fort Wayne was the scene last night of the Valentine Art Party.

Among the artists displaying works at the gallery is Kat Rohbacher, who returned to her hometown last May after completing art studies in Chicago. She provided us with an audio interview during the exhibition.

Just click the audio button below to hear her comments.

this is an audio post - click to play

Photo above: Judy and Jerry Korte with John Korte.

More at Fort Wayne Observed

And You Thought the Siding Salesmen Were Bad...

Indiana State Representative Steve Heim (R-Culver) remarks on a strange attempt to influence the General Assembly this week that has resulted in ticked-off constituents and even more ticked-off legislators.

Rep. Heim writes on his weblog:
Someone is paying a company to send automated phone calls into legislative districts in an apparently lame attempt to win friends and influence people regarding Indy Works. So far, the effort only seems to be irritating voters and alienating lawmakers.

When the phone is answered, the constituent is asked to "press 1" if they believe in small government. If the person does nothing or presses 1, then the call is transferred to the legislator's phone at the Statehouse. If the person hangs up, then the call is still transferred and both the home and Statehouse phones ring.

Needless to say, people living outside the donut counties have no idea what Indy Works is about nor are they told in advance who they are being connected with or what they are supposed to say when the phone is answered.

In short, someone is wasting a lot of money to annoy a lot of people.
IndyWorks is the name given the legislation to consolidate and reorganize a hugh swath of Indianapolis and Marion County local government functions.

Last Minute Valentine Suggestion

Unprepared for St. Valentine's Day?

We have a last minute suggestion. Get cookies delivered from Breadcraft Bakehouse.
You can call them at 482-7323 (48-bread)

This is a totally unsolicited and uncompensated suggestion. I am a big fan of their handcrafted breads. Breadcraft makes bread for various restaurants and clubs but they also have a retail business from 8 AM to 2 PM.

The breads taste great; the breads look great. The loaves look so beautiful that any loaf can serve as a centerpiece.

But today, you can order cookies. I know the demand is such that they were projecting to run out of decorated cookies at some point. However, undecorated cookies will taste the same.

And Breadcraft Bakehouse is located on W. State Boulevard right across from WISE-TV.

So, AWB, it's close enough that you could order some for delivery to Melissa. It might make amends for that maybe-several-steps-beyond-where-one-should-go Photoshop picture.

IP's Business Tuesday: All Local Content

Nathan Gotsch Makes a Local Business Announcement

If you can't find local business news in the newspaper run by a large publicly-traded company, you can always visit your small, locally-owned business source - Indiana Parley.

Fort Wayne weblog pioneer Nathan Gotsch has issued an announcement this morning.

Business Monday: No Local Content

The News-Sentinel BusinessMonday section published yesterday featured a cover story on blogging by small business. This is a topic of no small interest for readers of Indiana Parley.

The cover story on pages 6 and 7 of the BusinessMonday section was actually two stories.

Neither story originated with the News-Sentinel. One was from the Orange County Register; the other was from the Akron Beacon-Journal. That is, it was written by current Indianapolis Star reporter Erika D. Smith when she worked for the Akron Beacon-Journal.

The story dates back at least to May of 2005. It was published in the Arizona Republic on May 07, 2005.

There were seven other stories in the BusinessMonday section. None of those originated in Fort Wayne. There were three by-lined columns in BusinessMonday in addition to the syndicated content by The Motley Fool. None of those originated in Fort Wayne.

The only Fort Wayne content were the ads (St. Vincent's Villa can be yours for $3,200.000) and compilations of stock listings and the content of press releases regarding people or upcoming seminars.

Despite the evidence of further decline in the News-Sentinel's committment or ability to provide a modicum of Fort Wayne material we would still recommend you read both blogging stories. There's some good stuff in there.

You can read Jan Norman's article here in the Portsmouth NH newspaper.

Note: IP has found a link to the Erika Smith story from April 2005.

Monday, February 13, 2006

WPTA's One Size, One Color Fits All Photo

One particular Fort Wayne police car is still getting a work-out from the Indiana News Center staff at WPTA Channel 21. The same shot is used to illustrate events that happened at night, happened during the day, happened here, happened there.

Here's the latest example of the ubiquitous police car taken from a screen capture from WPTA's website at 5:15 PM on Monday, February 13th:

It's not even necessary that the event take place in the Fort Wayne Police Department's jurisdiction. As Indiana Parley first pointed out, WPTA used this police car photograph to illustrate last week's story about the Richard Blaich death at his home...outside the city limits.

So, WPTA sees no need to determine whether a Fort Wayne police car ever graced the scene of the incident WPTA is reporting.

AWB at Fort Wayne Indiana etc. reported on this phenomenon at this post when the photo was subseqently used. AWB illustrated the post with the following image of the side-by-side screen captures:
As AWB wrote:
While it is an acceptable practice to use file photos, one would assume they would be directly related to the story, even if it's a purported picture of the crime scene. WPTA seems to throw that assumption out the window and has now twice used photos out of context.
AWB, make that three times.

Candidate Filings

Snippets from Candidate Filings and Announcements

1. Some of the news reports didn't mention where the Tom Hayhurt announcement was made today. We heard Councilman Hayhurst describe it Saturday morning when he invited attendees at the Allen County Democrat headquarters to attend. He described it as being at Franke Park by the Zoo.

Indiana Parley doesn't know whether anything can be read into the fact that an announcement was held near the zoo. Maybe Dr. Hayhurst was intending it is a commentary on Congress. Or maybe it is a commentary on the nature of Democrats.

2. The impression has been left that Tom Hayhurst is one of only two Democrats in the race for the 3rd District Congressional seat. The other being Kevin Boyd of Fort Wayne.

Actually, Secretary of State Todd Rokita's office reports that two other gentlemen have filed: Thomas Allen Schrader on February 9th; Edward W. Smith on January 19th.

Does it require some really hard digging to find this information ? First one has to go to the Secretary of State's website, then one has to click on the Elections Division, then one has to click on candidate filings. That's pretty tough.

3. Three Democrats have filed in District 5. That is the congressional district now containing Huntington County and which has been represented by incumbent Dan Burton. The three Democrat hopefuls are: Katherine Fox Carr, the immediate past nominee; Mike Brown, presumably not the one late of FEMA; and Michael Clements of Huntington, who has previously been featured in an IP post.

4. There is one contested race for Republican precinct committeeman in Allen County. The clashing candidates? Ken Neumeister and Chuck Bodenhafer. The two guys are friends and associates. Neither one may know the other has filed for the same spot.

Mr. Neumeister heads Liberty Construction. Mr. Bodenhafer is the principal in B.I.G., an insurance firm that has much of the County of Allen's insurance business. Contributions from Mr. Bodenhafer to Allen County Republicans have figured in the news recently.

5. Congressman Mike Pence will have at least one opponent in the Republican primary. The District includes Adams and Wells Counties as well as Towships in Allen County that contain the communities of Monroeville and Hoagland. George Holland has filed as Mr. Pence's primary opposition.

Note: WOWO Radio has properly said in its news reports today regarding the Hayhurst announcement that he faces three opponents.

Ruining My Reputation

I wanted to note Robert Rouse's comment over at his weblog Left of Centrist. Robert had this to say:
Side note: After yesterday's meeting, I also ran into Republican blogger, and former member of the Indiana House of Representatives, Mitch Harper. I like Mitch and I enjoy reading his blog. I was happy to see that he is much as I imagined, an engaging individual. You can read his account of our meeting over at Indiana Parley.
Now Robert, you are setting back my plan to become known as a curmudgeon through these pages. Aside from that, what will left-leaning individuals like Craig think? C'mon, you are going to burst his illusion of me working in concert with Dick Cheney at an undisclosed location to make the world safe for Halliburton.

Anyway, thanks for the kind mention.

I want to reciprocrate by saying that Left of Centrist (or what I refer to as Way Left of Centrist) is going to get a right-hand link on Indiana Parley. I'm not sure what I am going to call this category of links but there will be a link set for a handful of left-leaning weblogs.

Which brings me to a few short points on the criteria I use to put new weblog links on the right-hand side. The first thing to understand is that this is not going to be one of those blogs where every possible link known to me gets placed on the page. It's limited real estate.

There are already quite a few links for folks to plow through. That is largely due to the fact that the links have been constructed as a service to the reader so that Indiana Parley can be a jumping off place to most media outlets in the northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. Regardless of what folks may think from time to time of the content on this page, I hope that readers feel welcome to start here in surveying the news of our region.

You can then jump from here to Drudge. Drudge may not be everyone's cup of tea but he does have exhaustive links to the major and not-so-major sources of news and commentary.

Another thing that readers may notice is that there aren't links to political parties and candidates on this page. Indiana Parley is a source for news and commentary; it is not a place to push political candidates. The focus is on policy, not people.

I may break down and provide a jump to a place where you can find all of those sorts of partisan and candidate links but you won't find them on the main page.

So, how does a weblog get placed on the right-hand side? It helps to have a sense of humor. Your weblog ought to provide some new viewpoints, preferably ones linked to Indiana in general, northeast Indiana or northwestern Ohio. It certainly helps to have original reporting from time to time.

Parroting material that can be found on 1001 weblogs isn't going to help. A weblog bashing Bush in every post is not original. A weblog providing a steady diet of Hillary bashing, Harry Reid bashing or Nancy Pelosi bashing is not original. I read these and I think, "Does this person read?" or "Does this person get out much?"

Report on the town meeting you attended, the experience you had with a goverment official, or the condition of your street, your school, or your workplace. Report on your avocation. Be interesting. (And forgive me when I am not).

It helps if you have innovative ideas and it helps if you want to advance liberty.

In any event, anyone can be considered who makes me laugh, writes well, or gives me pause. You will be a candidate for a link.

Robert Rouse has a sense of humor. It looks like he is expanding his original reporting; the use of video and photographs for the Hayhurst announcement is excellent. So, Robert, look for your link.

And, Craig, you are beginning to exhibit a sense of humor. Keep it up and you may get linked. I know that is not high on your list of honors. Heck, Craig, you might even dread the thought of it. So, be forwarned.

Pond and Worman to Battle in Primary

Denny Worman filed last week with the Indiana Secretary of State to run against long-time State Representative Phyllis Pond of New Haven in the Republican primary.

Mr. Worman is the son of Richard and Marna Jo Worman of Leo. Dick Worman is a former state senator and state representative. Marna Jo Worman also served as a state representative in the 1970's. Denny Worman has run for the legislature before. Most recently he ran in the Republican caucus to succeed the late State Senator and former Sheriff Charles "Bud" Meeks.

State Representative Pond, who has served continuously since first being elected in 1978, has given some indication that she may be considering voluntary retirement from the state legislature after serving one or two more terms. Given the strong probability that Rep. Pond will be re-elected in 2006, it is doubtful that this primary run will be a positive for Mr. Worman if he runs to succeed Rep. Pond upon her retirement in a few years.

Many observers will be interested to see if there is fall-out relating to the East Allen County Schools Board. Mr. Worman's sister, Terry Jo Lightfoot, is an elected school board member currently serving as the boad president in EACS. Fissures among the school board members have been exposed recently during the hiring controversy surrounding new EACS superintendent, Dr. Kay Novotny.

Chief Justice Tells a Story About Graham Richard

Shepard Connects the Dots Between Justice Alito and Mayor Richard

Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard gave a well-received talk on Indiana and the Constitutional issues of the Civil War at the Lincoln Museum on Saturday evening.

Mayor Graham Richard had been scheduled to introduce the Chief Justice but had a date conflict. Fort Wayne Fire Chief Tim Davie stood in for the Mayor.

Richard and Shepard were classmates at Princeton University.

Shepard took time at the beginning of his remarks to relate a story regarding Mayor Richard's time at Princeton. Shepard told of the somewhat rigid social hierarchy that had been a traditional part of the Princeton academic scene. These included exclusive "eating clubs" that were discriminatory in several senses of that term.

Shepard noted that much had been made during the confirmation hearings of Samuel Alito for the United States Supreme Court of his possible association with a group known as the Concerned Princeton Alumni. Shepard said that there wasn't much to say of a group in which Alito didn't participate.

He said that what was more telling of Justice Alito's time at Princeton was that he ate with a group that had been formed in the late 1960's as a reaction to the restrictive and exclusive "eating clubs." The new group was formed to be openly inclusive of people from all races, all family backgrounds, all wealth strata, and all religious backgrounds.

The new facility was Stevenson Hall, named after Adlai Stevenson. Shepard said that one of the founders of the eating group of Stevenson Hall was Fort Wayne's Mayor Graham Richard.

Shepard said that it could never have occured to them at the time that Stevenson Hall would have a connection to the confirmation of a member of the United States Supreme Court. He added that it was an exhibition at an earlier age of the kind of respect and inclusiveness and advancement of new ideas that the people of Fort Wayne see in their Mayor today.

Alito spoke of Stevenson Hall at his confirmation hearings.

Notes: Shepard went on from Princeton to Yale Law School where he was a classmate of Paul Helmke, Hillary Rodham and Bill Clinton.

Another graduate of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School is Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (1971).

See Chief Justice Shepard's article
"For Human Rights: Slave Cases and the Indiana Supreme Court," Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, 15 (Summer 2003), 34–41.

Are the Wheels Coming Off? Volume 1, Chapter 2

The editorial briefs in this morning's Journal-Gazette remarked on another instance of the Richard administration not being at the top of their game in explaining the financing of an administration proposal.

Indiana Parley noted the earlier instances at this post.

The Journal-Gazette editorial comment:
Southtown Centre

Mayor Graham Richard’s administration was surprisingly unprepared to answer some basic questions about financing of the proposed public safety academy during last week’s City Council meeting.

True, some council Republicans have tried to place hurdle after hurdle to block the city’s purchase and development of the old Southtown Mall site. But city officials should have the basic financial details when seeking City Council approval of a $24 million bond.

Expect Richard’s team to be better prepared this week.

The Vice-President Contributes to the Statistics

IP thought you might appreciate looking at some hunting accident statistics for the United States. You can find those here.

As for hunting accident information specific for Texas you can find that here. One day Vice-President Dick Cheney's hunting adventure will be listed in those Texas statistics.

We looked for a comprehensive data base on hunting accidents in Canada for the edification of one of our readers who hails from northern Ontario. Alas, we are still looking.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Weighty Remarks

At the Saturday morning meeting of Allen County Democrats at the party headquarters County Chairman Kevin Knuth was preceded by Third District Democratic Chair Steven Haines of Warsaw who introduced him this way:
Before I bring our county chair up I'd like to say a few things. First of all, how many of you are planning on going to the Republican class on ethics and fundraising?

[audience laughter]

Uh, I have a problem with that. If you take the "Insurancegate" that we call it up here where they award large insurance contracts to their big donors on a no-bid deal.
Kevin had to point out their fund-raising mistakes to 'em and all that

[The only thing I can say is] going to them for an ethics class is kinda like going to me for a weight loss class. I just don't think it's a good idea. But it'd be fun to hear what they had to say.

"Fun, Thought-Provoking" It's the "Diversity" Game

Non-Stop Fun! Play the Diversity Game at IPFW on Wednesday

Organizers are looking for contestants to play the "Diversity Game" on Wednesday from Noon to 1:30 PM at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. According to the News-Sentinel in Friday's edition:
Participants will be grouped into teams for a competition to create an ideal community.
It's not limited to IPFW students. "The community is encouraged to join IPFW students" to play. Somehow, we think AWB at Fort Wayne Indiana etc. might have a ball showing up to play.

The brief noted that "Mary Lehto, an IPFW faculty advisor who will facilitate the activity, promises the game will be fun, thought-provoking and evoke strong emotions."

The "game" will be held in Room 222 of the Walb Student Union.

We're curious as to the stated goal of creating "an ideal community." Who defines what constitutes an "ideal community?" Somehow the notion that one can engineer an ideal community is the flip side of the eugenics movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century which resulted in disastrous consequences in the 1930's and 1940's. The idea that "ideal" or "utopian" communities can be engineered presupposes an authority strong enough to impose the idealism.

Better to accept that communities arise organically from people who share a myriad of personal connections to each other and that the nature and vitality of those connections are constantly changing.

We encourage and support efforts that promote those connections and encourage respect for people who may have differences. It's the teaching of the arrogant idea that there can be defined something called an "ideal community" that strikes a wrong note.

The better way is represented by the efforts exemplified by Wil Clark of Fort Wayne. Mr. Clark gave a lecture on Race Relations in Fort Wayne on February 5th at The History Center. Mr. Clark has been a constant builder of bridges.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Geoff Paddock May Run for Legislature

Paddock Interested in Seeking State Representative Post if GiaQuinta Doesn't Run

Indiana Parley visited the Allen County Democrat Headquarters this morning to listen to Allen County Democratic Chairman Kevin Knuth give his 2006 State of the Party address.

We were able to catch up with a number of local Democrat officeholders and candidates.

Indiana Parley had an interesting interview with incoming Fort Wayne School Board President Geoff Paddock. Mr. Paddock talked about both the school board and a possible candidacy for the Indiana House of Representatives in the event State Representative Ben GiaQuinta chooses not to seek re-election. The response if slightly truncated for time.

Please click the button below to hear the interview. The question regarding a potential candidacy is at the 3:01 minute mark in the recording.

this is an audio post - click to play

East Meets West

Indiana Parley Meets Up With Robert Rouse of Left of Centrist

What happens when Indiana Parley and Left of Centrist are put in the same room? Mitch Harper of Indiana Parley met Robert Rouse of Left of Centrist.

Hear what was said by clicking the AudioPost below.

this is an audio post - click to play

Outside of the interview Robert talked about seeing The Beatles at the Indiana State Fair in Indianpolis on September 3, 1964.

The Fairgrounds concert was covered in the Fall 2002 issue of TRACES, the Magazine of Indiana and Midwestern History, published by the Indiana Historical Society. Betty Harris wrote the article, "'I Want to Hold Your Hand,' The Beatles at the Indiana State Fair."

Who else was there that day? J. Roberts Dailey of Muncie, later the Indiana Speaker of the House, took his children there to see the performance.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Chairman Knuth and the State of the Democrats

Tomorrow is the 2006 Version; IP Looks Back at the 2005 Promises

Allen County Democratic Chairman Kevin Knuth will be delivering the 2006 State of the Allen County Party Address tomorrow morning at the Democratic Headquarters on Bluffton Road at Brooklyn Avenue in Fort Wayne.

Coffee and donuts will be available at 8:30 AM; the program will start at 9:00 AM.

Not only will Mr. Knuth be there as speaker but there will probably be a Roach in the room as well. Mr. Knuth will get to plenty of opportunities to see Mr. Roach during the coming week.

Mr. Roach filed for the office of Allen County Recorder. Mr. Knuth was able to draft Herb Summers to file for that seat a few days ago. Mr. Roach promptly withdrew his candidacy for that office but just as promptly filed his candidacy for County Clerk.

Mr. Knuth will be busy right up to the candidate filing deadline on February 17th trying to figure which vacant slot on the Democrat primary ballot Mr. Roach will scurry to fill next. It is the belief of many that as soon as Mr. Knuth is able to push, pull or otherwise convince a Democrat to file against David Roach for a particular office, that Mr. Roach will then file a candidate withdrawal and file for the next vacancy. This will go on as long as there exists even one office not having at least one Democrat other than Mr. Roach seeking the Democratic nomination.

So, at 11:50 AM on February 17th expect to see David Roach standing at the counter of the Election Board with a fistfull of candidate withdrawal papers and a fistfull of candidate filing papers. Unless Mr. Knuth has a candidate ready to file for every seat, Mr. Roach will ultimately be on the 2006 General Election Ballot as an official standardbearer of the Democratic Party for some office.

We don't know what Mr. Knuth will say tomorrow but Indiana Parley thought it might be interesting seeing what was promised and what was delivered since Mr. Knuth's 2005 State of the Allen County Democratic Party Address.

IP has provided a little commentary interspersed in Chairman's Knuth 2005 speech. The text of Mr. Knuth's speech is in blue, the IP comments are in red. (There is nothing magical there. IP tried different colors; the others possible combinations do not read as well. However, we knew that if the Democrat comments were not in blue, IP would be hearing about that.)

The regular text of the speech can be downloaded from the Allen County Democratic Party website here.

Welcome to the annual “State of the Allen County Democratic Party” address. This tradition was started in 1996 by Chairman Brian Stier, to report to you on the health of our Party, and our future plans. This gathering has become a shared tradition, one held in good times and bad. (Usually more of the latter.) This address is also a way to reinforce the bond that we share as partners in building a strong Democratic voice in Allen County. There is nothing more crucial than an open and honest report to Party members each year. Information and education are vital to strengthening this organization. It is an important, and gratifying, duty of the Chair.

Clearly, the elections of 2004 were difficult for Democrats across our country. Unlike four years ago, George Bush won both the Electoral and popular votes. Back home in Indiana, our Party lost control of the Governor’s Office for the first time in 16 years. Locally, we did not gain any seats. Our only bright spot is that Win Moses and Ben GiaQuinta continue to represent us in the Statehouse. (As members of the minority caucus in the Indiana House of Representatives)

In the days following the election, I was contacted by several media outlets asking if this was the end of the Democratic Party in Allen County. I assured them it was not. I showed them that locally, we fared as we usually do in a Presidential election year in Allen County, roughly a 60/40 split. We will not take comfort in those numbers. We can, we must, and we will do better in future Presidential election years.

That part of the job - having to deal with a series of reporters asking whether the results meant the end of the county Democratic Party - had to be an ungratifying part of being the Chair.

I am somewhat surprised, however, how quickly it is forgotten how well we did in the previous two elections.

In the 2002 general election, our Allen County Assessor Pat Love showed that a Democrat can win a county-wide race. (She didn't win as much as the incumbent lost.) She is the first Democrat elected to county-wide office since 1974.
(Vance Amstutz was elected Commissioner and Joan Uebelhoer was elected Auditor. Each served just one term.)

In 2003, Graham Richard was reelected with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Sandy Kennedy was reelected to a 6th term as City Clerk. John Shoaff broke the Republican stronghold (try the word "stranglehold") on the City Council at-Large seats. Tom Hayhurst and Tim Pape won by margins of over 60 percent. Glynn Hines ran unopposed in the 6th District.

And yet, the Republicans retained control of the Council Majority. Tom Didier broke the Democratic
stranglehold on the 3rd District.

As good as that is, we will not take comfort in those numbers. We can, we must, and we will do better in future elections.

As disappointed as we all were on November the 2nd, on November 3rd something exciting began to happen. Here at headquarters we started getting calls from folks who wanted to get involved. They wanted to find a way to contribute to the Party, to turn the tide of this last election the other way.

That's called a day late and a dollar short. Nothing exciting in that.

Just this past Tuesday, there was a Democratic Party “meetup” held here in our headquarters. “Meetups” are Internet-based groups that meet to share thoughts and ideas. The majority of those involved in these groups are looking for ways to contribute, to help, to work for positive change. It is our responsibility to channel their efforts and bring them into the fold. Several of those folks are in this room today, looking to get involved in our Party. We welcome them with open arms.

There are 30 folks signed up on the Democratic Party Meetup. 11 are shown as active. The remaining 19 haven't visited the Meetup site in months.

And my message to all of you is that we must not lose hope. We must not lose energy or enthusiasm. The Democratic Party is the party of the people, and even though we were out-campaigned last year, we will once again rise to prominence. That road may be long and hard, but it will happen.

The Republicans both nationally and statewide are already making decisions that will work against them in future elections.

They are making some decisions that will work for them and some others that will work against them. Yet, can someone tell us if there is a coherent set of policy proposals from the national Democrats?

In order for Bush to pay for the creation of private Social Security accounts, he intends to borrow $2 trillion from foreign nations. He also has made clear he wants to change the way Social Security benefits are calculated in the future, which would mean a nearly 50-percent benefit cut for future retirees – whether they setup a private account or not. His own administration officials have admitted that private accounts would not add to the longevity of Social Security. In fact, according to many experts, private accounts would not only do nothing to increase the fiscal solvency of Social Security, they would actually speed the insolvency of Social Security.

Well, the issue is dead for the time being. There was never presented a true countervailing strategy from the Democrats. So young people are still left wondering what will be there for them when they retire. The can has just been kicked down the road a bit.

Republican Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas has even suggested reducing Social Security benefits for African-Americans based on a statistically shorter life span.

IP thinks Mr. Knuth has reversed his understanding on this point. The proponents of the President's plan asserted that the current Social Security system as defended by the Democratic establishment has resulted, due to the statistically shorter life spans of black males, in a system where black males pay in a great deal of money over a working life but get much less of a payout than others. In other words, it is a system that has taken a great deal out in payroll taxes from black males and has paid it to other people. The proponents asserted that there ought to be a system that allows the possibility that more of the work of a lifetime is not lost but is able to be paid to that worker and that worker's next generation.

More locally, Mitch Daniels’ plan to change the way schools are funded can have a negative impact on our local schools. With less funding, school boards will have two choices: cut teachers or raise taxes. Either way, we lose. Our classroom sizes will grow or our wallets will shrink.

IP is betting that Mr. Knuth will devote even more paragraphs to the Governor tomorrow morning.

Be warned though. We cannot sit by and wait for the Republicans to implode. We must work harder than we ever have to get our message out. We must improve if we are to be successful.

So the question becomes how do we improve? I have set five goals for the next year that I believe will move us in the right direction.

First and foremost, we must better define what the Allen County Democratic Party stands for, on national and local issues.

Admission that people don't have a clear idea of what the Democrats stand for.

We have to proudly state our position, and challenge the Republicans to disagree with it.

Then don't complain when Republicans disagree with it.

As Democrats, we too often allow Republicans to define our position for us. Let me give you an example: “pro-choice” is defined as “pro-abortion”. That is simply not true. I agree with the statement that President Clinton made when he addressed the Riverside Church in New York in August of last year: “I have never met anybody that was pro-abortion, and that’s not what pro-choice means, it just means we don’t want to criminalize mothers and their doctors.”

So, the Allen County Democratic position is officially declared by its Chairman to be "pro-choice?"

In his book Between Hope and History, Bill Clinton wrote, “Americans believe deeply in the need to keep government out of private, personal matters. That is one reason why I am pro-choice. I believe we should all work to reduce the number of abortions. That is why I have worked to reduce teen pregnancy, remove barriers to cross-racial adoption, and provide tax credits to families willing to adopt. Still, I believe the ultimate choice should remain a matter for a woman to decide in consultation with her conscience, her doctor, and her God.”

That is not the only reason Bill Clinton wants "government out of private, personal matters."

The result of such thinking? Under Bill Clinton, the abortion rate in this country dropped by 17 percent. However, under the direction of George W. Bush, the abortion rate is once again rising – just like it did under Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush.

How can such an important issue be so misrepresented? Why does the public simply accept the statement that if a candidate states that they are “pro-life” they will do the things that truly promote such an agenda? Because we let them.

It is clear we need a Party platform to define our positions on many issues. I have asked Rodney Scott to chair the Platform Committee. The task that they will be charged with is creating a platform that defines the Allen County Democratic Party, a platform that we can promote in the community, a platform that will aid our candidates, and bring in those voters who are looking for a clearer definition of what we stand for.

Mr. Knuth, we don't recall anyone talking about having seen such a platform. It's been a year. Can we have a copy?

Second, is a return to the basics. Battles are won in the trenches; elections are won in the precincts. The positions of Precinct Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs are literally the backbone of a successful political party. Their duties are to motivate the electorate on a neighborhood level, inviting existing Democrats to become more involved, as well as meeting new neighbors and encouraging them to join our cause.

The Republicans wouldn't mind hearing their own chairman say this.

We need to encourage our current Precinct Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs to be active members of the Party. They cannot sit on the side lines, they have to be willing to work, to promote our ideals, our candidates and our Party. And as a Party, we have to embrace their input, support and encourage their efforts, and thank them for the work that they do.

Sounds like a scolding followed by a promise.

We also need to do a better job filling these vital positions.

I have asked David Rogers to chair a Precinct Recruitment and Retention Committee. That committee will work to fill empty precincts, and develop methods for us to keep those folks better informed, better prepared, and well motivated.

How many of the empty slots have been filled?

Third, we have to continue our work to improve our finances. An organization such as ours has to have a solid financial base to fund our activities.

The Allen County Democratic Party has several ways you can contribute. The easiest method is to participate in the Democratic Action Fund, or DAF. For those of you who are not aware, the DAF is a monthly checking / savings account deduction. Current DAF contributions range from $10 per month to amounts in the hundreds.

However, we have not done enough to promote the DAF and encourage its growth.

No spin needed here. It's an admission it didn't bring in much money.

I have asked Geoff Paddock to chair the DAF Committee. Their goal will be to increase current DAF contributions as well as to solicit new contributions.

We'll be waiting to see if the DAF method raised more cash than it did the year before.

This sounds an awful lot like the old 2% Club initiated by Democratic Governor Paul V. McNutt.

Our fourth area of focus will be community involvement. Several of our Party faithful are involved in various civic organizations. However, as a Party, we need to “practice what we preach” and help those that need our help. With both the federal and state governments, under Republican control, cutting much needed financial support for programs that help those in need, we must help fill that gap.

To that end, I have asked Kate Love-Jacobson to chair our Community Involvement Team. That group will focus on promoting our Party message, while aiding those in need.

Written in the margin notes at this paragraph: "Imitate Steve Shine."

Finally, we have to do a better job of recruiting and preparing candidates. This does not mean that we will bypass the Primary Election process by holding a local convention. We will have a series of candidate “boot camps” to answer questions and discuss campaign strategies and fundraising issues for those interested in running for office. Phil GiaQuinta has accepted the task of chairing that committee.

How many boot camps did Phil GiaQuinta hold this past year? The public has not quite seen an outpouring of candidates for the Democrat nominations. (See Roach comment above.)

On Election night, I told you all that it was time for us to get back to work. If you agree and are interested in working on one of these committees, they will have short formative discussions immediately following this address. The time to effect change begins today. Do not delay your involvement.

To support these changes, the basic Party structure has to change as well. As you all know, Precinct Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs form the Central Committee. The Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer form the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee also has members appointed by the Chair. Currently, these positions include Outreach Coordinators for the African American, Hispanic, and Gay-Lesbian communities. Others serve in areas of communications, strategy, GOTV and some serve simply as advisors to the Chair.

I will add to the Executive Committee appointed slots for individual organized labor unions. The unions have always been supportive of our cause, and we must show our support for them during these difficult times. By working closely together, we can assure we are doing all we can to promote the rights of workers to fair wages and safe working conditions.

What? You didn't have organized labor on the executive committee before?

I will also add positions of Precinct Committee People at-Large. Those representatives will be selected by their fellow Precinct Committee people at our April Meeting.

It is my belief that with these changes to our structure and formation of these new committees, our Party will be stronger, more representative and more appealing to the electorate.

Yes, cobbling together special interest groups instead of developing a broad working message is the path to victory.

These changes will take time, not months or minutes. And the timeline for it will be defined by us, not by the spin of the opposition. There are those who would try to discredit our achievements or say that our goal will never be completely accomplished in Allen County.

If you don't win more offices, the opposition won't be saying those things. Your internal opposition will say those things.

So, IP will give you that. The timeline is whatever you say it is. If, in November, the timeline needs to be moved out a couple of years, you can say that. However, when it comes to international affairs, many people believe that Democrats don't seem to mind if America's opposition defines timelines.

We will prove them wrong. We have shown that it can be done. And our determination to achieve new and greater levels of success continues to grow.

The state of our Democratic Party is on the rise. And there will be more victories yet to celebrate! Thank you all for joining me here today.

Delivered by Kevin R. Knuth, County Chair
© February 12, 2005
Fair Use: Indiana Parley, February 10, 2006