Four years ago, Greg Ballard and the Marion Co. GOP council candidates railed against the Democratic-controlled council over the manner in which it trampled on the rights of the general public to testify at public committee hearings. Today, the Metropolitan Development Committee chaired by Councilor Janice McHenry ruled community activist Clarke Kahlo out of order when he attempted to offer public testimony on the nomination of Richard Kraft to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Other Republican councilors, including Councilor Caine and Councilor Cardwell, backed up McHenry's refusal to allow Kahlo to offer testimony. They falsely claimed public testimony had never been allowed from members of the public on nominees. McHenry and the GOP councilors are pissed off at Kahlo because he mounted an effort to block the reappointment of Jennifer Ping, a lobbyist for a law firm whose clients include those with an interest in alcohol permits, to the local alcohol board because she had treated members of the public so rudely when they remonstrated against the reissuance of problem alcohol permittees or the issuance of new alcohol permit applications. Ping's husband, a state employee, chairs the Metropolitan Development Commission.
Not surprisingly, the Republican councilors were thrilled to offer up Kraft's appointment to the BZA. He works for an engineering firm which does business with the City and helps fill the campaign coffers of the re-election campaign of Greg Ballard. In a laughable moment, Kraft said with a straight face under questioning by Councilor Brian Mahern that he would face no conflicts of interest serving on the BZA. Yep, he earns his living from government contracts, but he will have an open mind on matters that come before the BZA. Candidate Ballard four years ago promised to enact a city ordinance to bar city contractors and lobbyists from serving on the boards and commissions. As with virtually every other promise he made four years ago, he has not kept it. The Republicans have refused to appoint any of the people who actually played a role in their election four years ago to any boards or commissions. Some of us will gladly play the game of pay back this November for their disloyalty to us.
McHenry, who has demonstrated repeatedly during the last four years how inept of an elected official she is, simply does whatever she is ordered to do by Council President Ryan Vaughn, who traded his seat on the council for a job as a lobbyist at Barnes & Thornburg shortly after the Republicans captured control of the council four years ago. Vaughn has repeatedly carried the matters pushed by his law firm on behalf of its client's interests despite his obvious conflicts of interest. This Republican council is more corrupt and more arrogant towards the interests of average taxpayers than the Democratic-controlled council under Monroe Gray if that is possible. As a life-long Republican and GOP committeman, I can't wait to see many of these Republican councilors go down to defeat this November. They represent none of the values of the Republican Party. They only support the appointment of lobbyists and insiders who are making money off of government to city boards and commissions and who are throwing campaign contributions at them. It could be no worse under Democratic control.