Where Does Melina Kennedy Really Stand on Education? Good Question. No One Knows.

As we noted yesterday, Melina Kennedy appears to want to replace either Eugene White, Tony Bennett or her local school board president.  She has a television commercial up and has dropped two negative mailers in the last week on education, an issue that the Mayor of Indianapolis does not have much control over.

Since Kennedy wants to spend so much time talking about education, she must have some clearly staked out positions on education reform, right?  You’d think so, but no.  We’ve never heard her say anything about any of the education reforms that were passed in the legislative session. 

Ok, maybe education reform isn’t her cup of tea.  So Kennedy has a position on mayoral control of Marion County schools, right?  Wrong again.  Kennedy hasn’t said if she is for or against mayoral control either.  Is it just IPS that is a concern or all the township schools too?  You guessed it, she hasn’t said.  

How is Melina Kennedy going to solve these problems?  She hasn’t been very specific.  Kennedy has highlighted some fundamental issues that everyone believes are important but she doesn’t give specific ideas of how she will solve these problems.

The Mayor of Indianapolis does actually have authority over charter schools.  Kennedy must be focused on that issue then, right?  Nope.  She doesn’t seem to talk about Indianapolis charter schools either even though they are some of the best schools in the state of Indiana.

Feeling like you don’t really know where Melina Kennedy stands on education?  Don’t worry, she doesn’t either.

Summer Ends, Ads Go Up

Some of our critics happily noted we have been on a bit of a hiatus.  Yes, we broke out of our blogger basement for the summer.  We’re sorry.  Can you blame us for not wanting to spend the summer writing about the debt ceiling or the nonsense coming out of the Kennedy campaign? 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve notice that Mayor Ballard and Melina Kennedy are both up on television.  Ballard’s ad touts accomplishments of fiscal responsibility, fixing neighborhoods and lower taxes and crime.  Pretty much what you would expect from an incumbent.  Mayor Ballard has said several times he is running to his record and this ad is a prime example of doing just that.

Kennedy’s ad struck us as a bit odd.  The first half is the typical bio advertisement about how she helped pay her way through college as a waitress, is married and has kids.  The second half is focused on education. It seems like an odd thing for a candidate for Mayor to make a focal point of their campaign since the Mayor of Indianapolis doesn’t have any control of education outside of charter schools.  Maybe we need to draft a job description so Melina Kennedy understands the office she is seeking.  Right now, it sounds like she wants Eugene White’s job.

Weekend a Huge Success for Black Expo, Community, IMPD and Mayor Ballard

This weekend, Indianapolis hosted the Indiana Black Expo and it was a huge success. Over the last few years, the positive aspects of the event have been overshadowed by violence.  The saddest part of this is that the violence was caused not by those attending the official Black Expo events but those using the event as a reason to loiter around downtown. 

This year, however, was a much-needed positive experience that showed the Black Expo can be a safe, fun-filled weekend for families.  You can read the Star’s full story here but here are some of the highlights.

Vernon Williams, IBE spokesman, said officials hope it is a turnaround that will carry over to future Summer Celebrations and help erase the taint of past violence.

“We’re just extremely gratified,” Williams said, “that there were no serious incidents last night.”

He said several factors contributed to the turnaround. He cited a concerted, cooperative effort between police and Black Expo officials and the help of faith leaders, who mustered several hundred volunteers to monitor activity on the streets on Friday and Saturday nights.

Relocating the popular celebrity basketball game to the Indiana Convention Center from Conseco Fieldhouse was another positive change, Williams said. That kept attendees under one roof, so fewer young people roamed the streets getting from one venue to another, he said, and it “encouraged more parents to come into the convention center for other events instead of just dropping their kids off.”

“There is no doubt about it that Mayor Ballard and the Police Department did a great job,” Williams said. “We are very, very grateful for the way they stepped up and assured our citizens and visitors safe travel in and around the Downtown.”

In a statement issued Sunday, Ballard said that “thousands of visitors to Downtown Indianapolis this weekend enjoyed events filled with activities for families and children, and they did so in an atmosphere of peace achieved with the tremendous support of our partners.

“I commend the Indiana Black Expo organizers, Summer Celebration participants, Ten Point Coalition and the many officers from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police for their efforts working together to make the security surrounding this year’s Summer Celebration a success.”

Sanders is Out, Pam Hickman is In and Something is Up

Yesterday, At-Large City-County Councillor and Minority Leader Joanne Sanders bowed out of her re-election campaign citing an increased work load at her full-time job working as a union representative.

Today, Ed Treacy announced that Pam Hickman will take Sanders’ place on the ticket. Hickman ran for State Representative in District 87 and lost. Comments over on Indianapolis Times are claiming Hickman ran against the Democrat slate several years ago as well.

We don’t know what on earth is going on over at the Marion County Democrat Headquarters but something is up. Rumors are swirling that Monroe Gray and Vernon Brown were working to stage a coup and vote Sanders out of leadership after the election. This is a clear indication that the Democrat Council Caucus is spiraling out of control.

But is that why Sanders unexpectedly dropped out of her re-election bid? We aren’t sure but we are willing to bet there is a lot more to this story.

Ballard: Broad Ripple Parking Garage Set To Open Next Year

Mayor Greg Ballard addressed two huge issues in Broad Ripple this morning by announcing a parking garage will be put in on the corner of Broad Ripple and College Avenues.  It will be taking the place of the old, rundown gas station on the corner.

Obviously, this will address the parking problem in Broad Ripple by adding 350 parking spots in the garage.  Additionally, there will be a retail area and a police station in the first floor of the parking garage.  It has long been a bit risky to park your car on a side street and walk back after a night at the restaurants and bars in Broad Ripple.  Adding the public safety aspect to the garage is a huge deal.

The $15 million garage is partially financed through the City’s lease of parking meters and there will be public meetings in July so residents can weigh in on the plan. 

This is a big win for Broad Ripple.

Education and the Indianapolis Mayor’s Race

Over the last few weeks, education has become a prominent issue here in Indianapolis.  This is mainly due to the likely prospect of state takeover of 7 IPS schools that have failed to meet minimum standards for six consecutive years.   Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett began holding meetings at each of the schools facing the possibility of state takeover to engage the community in the discussion. 

Melina Kennedy came out with what she has been calling an education plan. We’ve read it and, like most of the things we’ve read from her campaign, it seems to be a lot of talk without details or action. 

Yesterday, Mayor Ballard gave a speech where he said he plans to request control over any IPS schools that end up being taken over by the state.  He also indicated that while this opens the dialogue for mayoral control over all of IPS, he believes the first priority should be these specific schools and any expansion of mayoral control should happen based on success in those initial schools and a community discussion of broader action. 

This approach makes sense to us.  The Mayor should show he can make a positive difference in schools before taking them all over.  If they are successful in making changes to these schools, the general community will be more willing to support an expansion of mayoral control.  And, if the Mayor can make a positive change, the community should be willing to support mayoral control. 

Our question is where does Melina Kennedy really stand on the issue?

Holiday Weekend Catch Up

Welcome back from the long weekend everyone.  We hope you took the time to enjoy the great weather, a great Indy 500 and the Memorial Day holiday. 

After going over the blogs this morning, we have a few things we thought we’d address.

First, Jon Easter says we are “shameful” because we noted that he even admitted some areas of the city really need construction work.  It is clear from the comments on the post that Jon is taking some flack from Democrat insiders.  Sorry, Jon, we weren’t trying to stir the pot and get you in trouble.  We’re willing to bet his post was written after a Kennedy campaign flack got frustrated.

Speaking of campaign flacks, Indianapolis Times blogger Terry Burns posted he is hearing there may be a shake-up in the Ballard campaign.  We’re going to guess that Terry Burns has as much insider information on the Ballard campaign as Gary Welsh and Paul Ogden do.  It seems to us that, again, the Kennedy campaign is getting a little sensitive to the Ballard campaign responses. 

Lastly, Jon Easter posted on the latest version of Mitch Watch 2012 and the potential that Governor Daniels could be the Vice Presidential pick for the Republicans.  Jon seems to think that ruling out the Presidential run for family reasons should also rule out a Vice Presidential potential.  While Jon does admit there is a difference between the two roles, he comments that “they both come with a great deal of scrutiny, closet skeleton searching, and an in-depth look at someone’s record.”  He goes further saying that was clearly a concern to the Governor.

While we think the Daniels’ were probably less than thrilled with the stories regarding their divorce, we really think the idea of a long campaign starting this May and potentially last through November of 2012 if Governor Daniels won the nomination was the biggest problem.  Additionally, it is a lifestyle change for the rest of your life if you are elected President.  Those seem to be the larger considerations that they mentioned.

A Vice-Presidential spot on the ticket is essentially a five month campaign, far less scrutiny and a place in the spotlight without the life altering drawbacks.  While we’d prefer Daniels at the top of the ticket, beggars can’t be choosers and we’ll take what we can get.

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