Hammer: Information Overload


With a month to go until the mayoral elections, Mayor Greg Ballard and Melina Kennedy, his Democratic opponent, have taken to the airwaves with campaign ads, each side warning of the disaster awaiting us if their opponent prevails.

Ms. Kennedy blames Mr. Ballard for the city having lost tens of thousands of jobs in the past four years, by implication putting Ballard on the hook for the global depression that started around the time he took office.

Ballard counters with an ad featuring an interview with a retired police officer who says only Ballard cares about the city's cops, is honest and is only looking to advance the city's fortunes, not his own political career.

Of course, Kennedy's rebuttal is that the Fraternal Order of Police, which endorsed Ballard in 2007, is now supporting her. She stands behind the police department and the officers support her.

After reading their policy papers and following the news media reports of the campaign, I can't honestly see much of a difference in their views. Both Ballard and Kennedy want to bring jobs to their city, make our streets safer and make Indianapolis an even better place to live, work and to do business.

I've voted in every election since 1984 and have only voted for three Republicans in that time. I voted for Ballard in 2007 because he was not Bart Peterson. He has kept up his end of the bargain by continuing to not be Bart Peterson.

I've even written kind words in this column about Ballard and his commitment to the city. He won in an upset four years ago and came into office not owing anyone anything. He won through hard work and by not being Peterson.

Kennedy brings an impressive resume of experience to her candidacy. She's been successful in every position she's held. She's crafted intelligent, common-sense policies on the problems facing Indianapolis.

All of which leaves me in a difficult position on deciding whom to support. On one hand, I like the mayor. On the other hand, all the kind things I've said about him in print didn't help me one bit when I applied for a job this year at a city-run agency, a job for which I was well-qualified.

I've never met Kennedy, but, as I said, she seems like a decent person and a credible candidate. I could go with my heartfelt principles that all Republicans are evil fat cats looking to make the wealthiest people even richer and vote for Kennedy.

But I like Ballard too much to lump him in with the Tea Party scumbags who are polluting our nation at the moment. He's done his best to keep his head down, show up to work early and stay late and get the job done.

He hasn't gone out of his way to alienate the Democrats in the city, fully understanding that he's going to need their support if he is to succeed in his re-election bid. He deserves credit for that and for taking measures to strengthen the city's law enforcement during some of its biggest scandals in memory.

Unfortunately, neither candidate is doing very much to earn my support. Kennedy's attack ads against Ballard appear to be unfair. Ballard's rebuttals only convinced me that he loves puppies, small children and senior citizens.

Neither candidate will be able to turn around the global economic situation, end corporate greed or provide meaningful jobs reform to our city.

Since I am undecided, I'll put my unofficial endorsement up for bidding. Whichever candidate that does the most for me, personally, in the next 30 days will win my vote. There's always work around the house that needs to be done and Ballard looks like he'd be strong enough to repaint my house and clean the gutters.

Kennedy, from all reports, is talented in many fields and I'm trying not to hold the fact that she worked for Peterson against her. She's a successful attorney and economic adviser; maybe she can look over my finances and help get them in order. Her husband is a former Olympic athlete; perhaps he could become my personal trainer.

Of course, I'd be entering into a criminal conspiracy by asking either of them to hand me a bag full of campaign cash and a few cases of Crown Royal at 3 a.m. Thursday at the gas station at 30th and College, so I won't do that. Especially not if I'll be sitting in the back seat of a 2004 blue Escalade at that time.

Neither candidate has yet earned my vote. But there's still a month to convince or bribe me.


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