Sunday, January 31, 2010

Councilors & Superbowl Tickets

Braveheart is one of my favorite movies. One of the most affecting scenes is when William Wallace realizes he's been betrayed by Robert the Bruce, a man he considered to be of high ideals, capable of leading Scotland to independence. Periodically, I take a gutshot like that from my own party.

My hope has been to minimize those angst-filled moments by administering "tough love." My hope has always been that maybe some Democrats will find their higher angels, lead by example, and bring this community out of the cynicism that permeates political life.

That need for "tough love" was never more apparent than when I read that 26 of 29 city-county councilors took the Colts up on their offer to acquire Superbowl tickets for the councilors at the $800 face value.

Senior Executive Vice-President for the Colts, Pete Ward, said this was done "as a show of appreciation for their public service." This is a ludicrously insulting quote. The Colts made the offer to curry favor with people who control the Colts financial future, and if you think otherwise, ask yourself why this offer wasn't extended to police officers, fire fighters, postal employees, and sanitation workers, among our many "public servants."

I have tremendous respect for many members on the city-county council. They work in a poorly-compensated, often thankless and immeasurably time-consuming job. But they chose to put their names on the ballot to serve, and respectfully, if our city-county councilors missed a meeting, most of us would never know, and in most cases, that absence wouldn't change anything. Can we say the same about our garbage or postal workers? Seriously, if the Colts are not kowtowing to voting power, what about the councilors service is so noteworthy? All the sitting or all the listening?

To my councilor friends, remember that leadership is a straight walk in the shoes of those you serve, not running in well-heeled circles. Leadership is holding your palm up instead of holding your hand out when perks are offered. Leadership is never being oblivious to a single instance of an obvious double standard. If you want a Superbowl ticket, go scrounge on Craig's List like the rest of us.

The Star reports that the Colts have no obligation to disclose who bought the tickets, and in truth, I'm grateful in not knowing. I don't think I could handle the disappointment.

Unfortunately, I don't expect I'll be permitted to stay ignorant. The questions will not stop until the media knows every person who took the tickets and the disposition of those tickets. So, to my council friends, if you are going to ignore the personal code of conduct component to this deal, at least don't be stupid on the politics.

Were I Democratic Party dictator of the universe, I'd corral everybody who bought the tickets, we'd sell them, and we'd donate all the profit collectively to the United Way of Greater Indianapolis or the Red Cross for relief to Hait. But as the only title I have is "party activist," I'll just implore all of my D colleagues to go to the game if you aren't donating all the proceeds to charity. I assure you that if you keep a single dime of profit, you're going to get hammered politically. And, frankly, you should be.

Scotland ultimately got its independence when Robert the Bruce became king. But that didn't happen until after the following exchange:

Robert Bruce, Sr: "All men betray. All men lose heart."

Robert the Bruce: "I don't want to lose heart. I want to believe, as he does."

So do I.



Akla said...

They could have donated that ticket money to red cross efforts in Haiti. Pigs at the trough, as usual. Each time the democrats have a chance to show leadership, they bail. Look at bayh and all the others who oppose obama's leadership. Losers.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Okay, you lost me when you said donate the ticket money to the United Way. Sorry but I don't want the money to go to six figure administrator salaries or for some non-profit types to ride around in limos. I'd rather see real charities get the money.

varangianguard said...

When I got to the parts about leadership, I became convinced that IPOPA had left Indiana for greener pastures.

I guess I'm just too cynical to believe that he was actually talking about Indiana politicians.

Blog Admin said...

Skillman and Coleman have confirmed that they did not take th eColts up on their offer/bribe.

My guess is Minton-McNeil is the third, since she's supposed to be recovering from an illness.

Chris Worden said...


I have a vested interest in my own caucus, so I speak on it. But I'm not going to overlook failed Republican leadership. Both parties sink in this boat.

Paul & Akla: The Red Cross would have been a good choice. I was using the United Way as a symbol, not as a specific.

Anonymous said...

On a somewhat related note, Carl Brizzi is going to the Super Bowl. I don't know any details except that he is flying commercial this year.

Nothing seems to get him down. Most of us would be home with our head under a blanket.