The following post is based on a number of conversations with individuals in Marion County. None wanted to go on record for fear of repercussions, but they were more than willing to talk as long as I kept their names out of all this. What you take away from this post will likely depend on what you brought to it.
I have never been one to believe in conspiracy theories, but sometimes a cigar can be more than a cigar. There’s been a rumor on the political streets for weeks that Democrats are going to try and use race as an issue in the Mayoral election, but up until the Brandon Johnson case, they weren’t quite sure how to do it. And for the past few weeks I’ve been playing connect the dots on a few local news items and the picture I’ve come to the conclusion that the rumors are true and this is all about making Melina Kennedy Mayor in 2011.
Allow me to explain.
Despite public declarations to the contrary, the Baptist Ministers Alliance of Indianapolis has only been around since March of this year. The national organization is about 140-years old but the local branch is a few months old. It’s registered as a not-for profit with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office. My sources tell me, the Alliance is the brainchild of Democratic lobbyist Lacy Johnson and State Representative Bill Crawford, and former City-Council member King “Ro” Conley, who plans to run again next year. Johnson is one of the sharper tools in local politics I know so it would come to me as no shocker that he could put all this together.
He, along with Crawford and Conley, are reportedly leading the pack that is mostly black statehouse elected officials as well as city-county council members.
The purpose of the Alliance is simple; give Melina Kennedy wedge race issues to run on next year and to make Stephen Clay, the Black Pope of Indianapolis. Up until the Brandon Johnson case, Greg Ballard reportedly enjoyed a healthy margin of support amongst African-Americans. Support has dropped off and the BMA makes it a point to keep it in the news.
In addition to wanting to weaken the Mayor, Clay wants to be the sole leader of the African-American community. Remember, during their first news conference they called themselves the official voice of the black community. And in order to make that happen, members of his camp have been working to move out other black community groups aside or bring them under the BMA’s fold such as the Concerned Clergy and the Ten-Point Coalition.
And an added benefit in all this is that it would give Johnson a major leg up in his alleged battle to be the unofficial head of the black wing of the Indiana Democratic Party against Cordelia Lewis-Burks. By the way, that’s a blog post for another day and it should make some great conversation at the Annual Indiana Democratic Editorial Association convention in Bloomington this weekend.
And just so you know, I did find it odd that the same black elected officials who go on and on about race have picked a white woman, albeit a very polite one, to back for Mayor as opposed to two African-Americans.
So, is it a big giant conspiracy or Marion County politics as usual? Take your pick, regardless it’s fun to write about and even more fun to put it all open where everyone can see it. Let the gossip, denials and just general political brouhaha begin.