Mayor misses boat at Gay Pride Parade

Dateline: Sun 12 Jun 2011

An inside story of the Gay Pride Parade, which took place Saturday, from anonymous:

"The Mayor allowed his public safety director, Frank Straub, to publicly trumpet the (city's) participation in Saturday's Gay Pride Parade, along with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indianapolis Fire Department ...a huge step forward, even if the mayor had 'booked his calendar' and couldn't attend himself.


"All hell broke loose this past week when the fundies (fundamentalists) got wind of this. Micah Clark (executive director of the conservative American Family Association of Indiana) sent out scandalous emails to his supporters, demanding the city public safety participation be reviewed.

"It was.

"The Mayor released his Saturday calendar Friday -- something he doesn't always do, and it was full of make-work appointments. So he'd be absent from the parade.

"He didn't include the Italian Festival, the PBS Character Show downtown (lest he be pictured with Big Bird, I'm guessing).

"The gay community took strong notice when he said, at the (wonderful) Five Mayors conference at University of Indianapolis this winter, he was not in favor of the Marriage Amendment because it was counter to a welcoming posture he fostered for the city. He had a golden chance to make headway on that gained ground, but he screwed it up.

"I walked past the mayor's literature table at Pride several times--staffers were diligently trying to defend Hizzoner from the numerous catcalls and outright hostility, for the mayor's absence. It was kinda brutal. They must've decided he needed to mend fences, because by mid-afternoon, he was rushed to Pride Festival, only to get
booed away quickly.

"Ms. Melina Kennedy, Dem candidate for mayor, rode in the parade--again this year--with Sheriff John Layton. The strong presence of the sheriff's department was a visible sign that progress is possible. There was a sprinkling of IMPD and IFD participation--some brave officers who bucked their mayor's nonsense.

"Little-noticed in this kerfuffle: Public Safety director Frank Straub was overruled by the Mayor.

All so unnecessary."

For more insight on this incident, read Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana's blog post:

Also, my gratitude to our tipster for first-hand reporting.


Gary Welsh [unverified] said:

Thanks for the post, Ruth. The story in today's Star was extremely misleading. Ballard ordered the official vehicle entries for IMPD and the fire department withdrawn early Saturday morning. The officers who walked in the parade were allowed to do so on their own--not in an official capacity as the original Fox 59 story suggested it would be. You would have never known that from reading the Star today. Only the sheriff's department vehicles and officers were there in an official capacity.

2011-06-12 19:43:19

Wilson46201 [unverified] said:

200 photos of the Pride Parade and Festival - a wonderfully diverse gathering

2011-06-12 19:49:53

Matt Stone [unverified] said:

The oddest thing of this all? This is the first time Ballard has overruled Frank Straub on anything at all.

2011-06-12 20:05:24

Gary Welsh [unverified] said:

One time where Straub understood the larger picture. What many people fail to grasp is that the event is attended by thousands of people who are not gay or lesbian. Many people like going to community festivals. Hell, you don't have to be Italian to go to Italian Fest. Most of the people who attend Italian Fest simply go for the food and to enjoy the company of other people. Big city mayors learn that they have to embrace diversity or they don't last long in office.

2011-06-12 20:30:44

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

It could've been avoided, Ruthie.

2011-06-12 20:38:00

ruthholl [Member] said:

Well said, all.
The Star's account was PR puffery, I guess.

2011-06-12 20:55:41

Virgene Cline [unverified] said:

Mr. Mayor made it to Italian Fest though.

2011-06-12 21:00:44

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Italian Fest wasn't on his "schedule."

I guess Italians and their allies are "safe" political fodder.

Thankfully, Ballard's antics end in about six months. So much promise--he owed no one. And he's turned into a less-intelligent Goldsmith.

Or, as my grandmother used to say, he "lacks intellectual curiosity."

Oh yeah--he panders, too...Micah Clark's minions are no doubt atwitter.

2011-06-12 21:09:57

Wilson46201 [unverified] said:

this photo I took yesterday gives you an idea of the very large crowd of citizens that the Ballard campaign bungled and antagonized

2011-06-12 21:20:01

ruthholl [Member] said:

Thanks to Wilson for the photos and posting this blog on Facebook, too.
Mayor Ballad, you screwed up.

2011-06-12 21:38:38

Gene Maresca [unverified] said:

I don't understand.

Photos of the parade show the fire truck and IMPD car, yet this says that they were withdrawn before the start of the parade.

2011-06-13 20:11:27

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Gene: more and bigger apparatus were planned, and in line for the parade. The mayor pulled them.

Plus, he fluffed up his own schedule with "events" that precluded him from attending any of the festival.


2011-06-14 07:12:49

Jason [unverified] said:

I could understand the mayor's decision either way, as gay rights is still a divisive issue in our state (just an observation) and Republicans aren't exactly known for their openness on this one.

What I don't understand is making a big deal out of committing all of this stuff and then yanking it at the last minute. I mean, are we TRYING to piss people off here? I know the GLBT crowd isn't exactly his core constituency, but I don't think Ballard really HAS a core constituency as it is. I'm amazed there can be this much confusion and indecisiveness 3.5 years into a term.

2011-06-14 09:10:42

hendy [Member] said:

Jason, such hesitation on the part of an ex-colonel gives the appearance that someone told him to do so. People that can't stick by their decisions don't make good leaders.

And while the LGBT crowd might not be his constituency, there are many people that will stick up for that crowd that aren't a member of the group.

There were 50K+ people in Indy for Pride activities, and many of them from surrounding areas. It was a great tourism event. I was in my daughter's wedding or I'd have been down there having a great time. Of course I like the Earth Day and other downtown Indy Festivals, along with the ones we have here in Bloomington-- and I missed the Luna Fest last Saturday as well. Fortunately, there's another one-- Taste of Bloomington-- along with an art fair this coming weekend.

Did Ballard screw up? Sure. Just one in a number of great decisions, like selling IWC, putting in devilish parking meters that sold yet another piece of the city to someone else, and dozens of other bright ideas. This is all while housing prices are at their lowest in decades, people can't find work, and the corporations now take over government by the tax deals they cut. This is his last term.

2011-06-14 11:20:23

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

" I was in my daughter's wedding or I'd have been down there having a great time."

Congratulations to your daughter and also to Dad, Hendy.

May they have a blessed life together.

2011-06-14 12:44:50

hendy [Member] said:

Thanks, WB. It was a wonderful time.

2011-06-14 14:42:15

GaryWelsh [unverified] said:

In response to Gene's comment.

IMPD has vehicles that they use for parades and special events, including a Humvee recruiting vehicle. The special event vehicles, which were entered in the parade were withdrawn at the last minute. The police officers who had agreed to appear in the parade were allowed to go ahead on their own and walk. One of the officer's take home car followed them in the parade route, but it was not the vehicle originally entered to represent IMPD. The fire truck in the parade was a vintage fire truck that came out of the firemen's museum on Mass Avenue. That's what the firefighters rode on. It's not a city-owned vehicle. An official fire engine from Station 7 was pulled from the parade at the last minute just like IMPD's Humvee.

2011-06-14 15:20:43

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

If that's true, Gary, then the mayor blatantly lied on Amos Brown's show.

And I'm betting you're right.

So much nonsense for so little gain.

I hope the fundies are happy. The mayor demonstrated his bona-fides for them.

He left this cojones on the 25th floor.

2011-06-14 15:48:07

VladtheImpaler [unverified] said:

From a purely political calculation, you stand to alienate more in the majority than you win in LGBT approval if you as Indpls Mayor join the parade.

LGBTs aren't all that fond of Hizhonor as it is.

2011-06-15 15:52:22

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Yeah, Vlad, that is probably true, but he committed, or allowed Straub to commit, then backed away when a few fundies complained.

That's just politically stupid--all the way around. A solid "no thanks" from Day one would've been SOP.

Instead, he crapped in his mess kit.

Kind of a strong analogy to his entire 3.5 year sin office, if you ask me.

2011-06-15 18:49:20

Gene Poole [unverified] said:

The emotives of such "progress" are laughable. "Gay" is no longer synonymous with happy, but a managed state of politicized, sectarian angst. There's nothing particularly wrong with seeking attention, demanding it however is another thing.

2011-06-16 06:45:14

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Buzz off Gene.

2011-06-16 10:12:27

VladtheImpaler [unverified] said:

Crapped in mess kit -- priceless. But
Vlad is about to puke his spaghetti dinner ...

2011-06-16 17:34:32

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