Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

October 14, 2012

Public eye - Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012

By Ken de la Bastide and Scott Smith
Tribune columnists

Stumping for Joe and John

Former President Bill Clinton spoke to a crowd of 3,000 Friday at the Hoosier Common Sense Rally at North Central High School in Indianapolis, where he joined John Gregg, Democratic candidate for Indiana governor, and U.S. Representative Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., who is running for U.S. Senate, to rile up Democrats for the fast-approaching election.

A starstruck Donnelly joked about his first call with Clinton in planning the event, saying he was shocked to hear the “voice of God” on the other line. Clinton was likewise flattering, praising Gregg and Donnelly’s accomplishments, supporting fair wages for manufacturing jobs and affordable college tuition, and championing bipartisanship.

“I don’t think what people in Indiana think what this country needs is more partisanship,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of that already.”

U.S. needs more?

In a week in which everyone was hoping to own the mantle of “bipartisan solutions provider,” we were surprised by an event that unfortunately flew a bit under the political radar.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, the man who, through his tax pledge, wields more leverage than about anyone in the conservative movement, was in Indianapolis as the keynote speaker at The Midwest Summit: Forging a New Consensus on Immigrants and America.

“Immigration is the most important thing to focus if you’re concerned about America as an economic power,” Norquist said. “Not only is it good policy to have dramatically more immigrants in the U.S. than we do today and a path for those who are here; it’s also good politics. In fact, restrictionist policies are bad electoral policies.”

As Republican strategists look at Mitt Romney’s dismal polling numbers among the burgeoning Hispanic population, they might want to take heed.

Found an issue

Democratic Howard County Council candidate Paul Munoz was hammering the opposition this week after the director of Howard County’s veterans affairs office, Bob Ladd, resigned.

According to Ken Fisher, the commander of VFW 1152, Ladd resigned when county officials again denied his request for more part-time help for his office.

County officials haven’t commented, but Fisher and Munoz said that Ladd’s request for an additional $12,000 was initially approved by the county council, but later trimmed to $6,000 without explanation.

We’re not sure who cut Ladd’s budget request, but Munoz called the situation a case of misplaced priorities.

“The county and the county council really don’t feel veterans are the top priority,” Munoz said Friday.

Oh well, it happens

State Rep. Mike Karickhoff, R-Kokomo, was chairing a summer study group on emergency dispatch issues this week when the Fishers town manager, Scott Fadness, came up to speak on Fishers’ battles with Hamilton County over funding.

The only problem was that Karickhoff introduced Fadness as “Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness,” drawing some laughs around the room.

Fishers voters will decide Nov. 6 whether to move from a town council system to the governing system every other city of that size uses, the city council/mayor system.

Fishers might also be the only other place in the state — outside of Howard County — where people are voting on township consolidation.

Tribune reporter Megan Graham contributed to the Public Eye this week.