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Just Another Day in the Abdul World

Although the big news of the day was the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department answering questions about David Bisard who was charged with driving drunk and killing a motorist in the process, the Department of Public Safety also announced a new advisory board to help with police-community relations and department policy.

I bring this up, because I was asked to serve on that panel and said “yes”.  I went back and forth for a while before deciding in the affirmative.  Although it’s a non-paid, pure advisory position, it does raise and issue of a potential conflict of interest, because I am a news commentator and from time to time I discuss public safety.

To be honest, I don’t worry about a conflict of interest, my life is full of them and I frankly don’t trust anyone who’s never had a conflict of interest because that’s someone who hasn’t lived.   Just kidding.  I’m pretty involved here in Indianapolis and it’s not uncommon for worlds to collide.  So I decided to deal with my current situation the same way I deal with everything else, full disclosure and let the audience make up their mind.   I’ve always believed that when you’re in the opinion business, what people take away from you is usually determined by what they brought to the table.  If you like me, you probably still will.  If you’re an emotionally unstable, jealous blogger with a ton of unresolved issues, I suggest therapy. But I digress.

In my day jobs I have an opportunity to voice my opinion, influence public policy and try to make life better for people who are working hard, footing the bill and carrying the load.  The chance to serve on the public safety advisory board is just another opportunity to do what I do everyday.  Does this mean I will change my  opinions, not at all.   Does it mean that people I come into contact with who might have had an incident with IMPD, now have another voice where they can express their concerns, yes.

And if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just go back to doing what I was doing before, getting paid to express my opinion and having fun in the process.   This is just another way to serve and make life better for the citizens of Indianapolis.  In other words, it’s just another day in the Abdul existence.

  • Think Again

    I admire your public discussion of the conflicts.

    But, respectfully, you're making a mistake.

    This is a line you shouldn't cross. You're not a “reporter,” in the strictest sense, but you've done more hard reporting in four years than most local newsfolk have done in a lifetime. That lazy news attitude has pervaded this market for decades. It's a Myra Borschoff-kinda town…if you want a puff piece to get maximum shelf life, drop it on Friday about 1 pm–the electronic folks will play it all weekend with little editing, because the lightweights are on weekend duty. And the print folks–well, they're mostly watching their desks to be sure they aren't moved closer to the loading dock. Poor suckers. Tully's Manual HS series notwithstanding.

    We can't expect more of our media, if leaders like you cross this line. I call it the “Paul Harvey” line.

    Remember how he used to roll from a “newsy” story right into a sponsorship? As if the foam-air mattress testimonial and the air traffic controller strike were equally important. No separation whatsoever. Hell he “made” Bose radios.

    Paul was wildly successful. But a solid newsman he wasn't. Respected commentator–well, with average Americans he was, but not among many who value true news.

    Your role is admittedly a hybrid–part commentator, part reporter, mixed with whimsical raconteur …and I think this is a close call. Here's some free advice:

    Don't ever, EVER participate in a closed-door (executive) session. As long as all these meetings are open to the public, you would've been there anyway. Executive sessions are governed by the Open Door Law, but the process is wildly misused. This group has no solid reasons to invoke the Open Door Law, so don't encourage them. Sunshine helps, especially with this difficult subject.

    Good luck. You'll definitely be among the smarter folks at that table.

  • varangianguard

    At least I'll know who to go to now…

  • Indiana_Barrister

    TA, I appreciate the thoughts. However, I have served on some public boards before. Fall Creek Academy for the GEO Foundation, Todd Rokita's Voter ID panel back in '06 and I'm on the faculty at two schools here. I have always been a firm believer in full disclosure and the public can make up their own minds. In addition, this gives a voice to people who may not know where to go. And if gets to be more trouble than it's worth, I'll tender my resignation. And we're back to normal.

  • Nick

    What happened to the old advisory board?

  • Think Again

    Fall Creek and Field Marshall Todd's little Nazi panel were not the same…at all.

    Specifically:

    Who created this group? If the Mayor, or any of his appointees did, it's subject to Open Door and Public Records laws.

    I have no doubt you'll do good work. It's just a sensitive line to cross. And I do wish you luck.

    I just don't trust this PS Director. His job is worthless, duplicates other public safety functions, and he's not impressed me thus far. His sole redeeming quality, in my book, is l ack of local ties. In the end, that may be valuable in this complicated mess.
    Godspeed, my 30/45ths-Muslim friend.

    But point noted. I do wish you luck.

  • Nick

    They should make these meetings pay for view just to see the Abdul vs. Amos match up!

    This could be very good to get the community informed and involved or it could be very bad by defining our community with crime stories and the problems and disputes instead of the more positive aspects of our community that makes people want to live,work,play in Indianapolis.

  • Think Again

    Amos is going to be there? Yikes!

    “CALL THE MAYOR'S OFFICE AND TELL THEM AMOS TOLD YOU TO CALL!”

    What a gasbag.

  • joneaster

    Abdul,
    At the risk of opening up for flaming, any discussion as to why no Democrats from the CCC were on the board? Don't you find it odd?

    Congratulations, by the way, on the appointment to the board. While I find it odd that you (and Amos) are on the board, I congratulate you as a friend and appreciate your recognition of your decision struggle here.

  • Skersey1

    Abdul, You threw out the softball by your “full disclosure” comment, so here goes: one of the other “emotionally unstable, jealous bloggers with a ton of unresolved issues..” (your words above) mentioned today that you have put yourself out there for the purpose of this Board, as an Attorney but you don't have a license to practice in Indiana nor have you ever practiced law and also that you have kept your personal vehicle plated/tagged in Illinois, thus not paying Indiana excise tax (like the rest of us do) and not complying with the time limitations on getting your vehicle properly registered in Indiana. So, please, respond to these allegations by that emotionally unstable jealous blogger. (It ain't ME!) Thanks, Abdul…

  • indyernie

    Abdul did TA just call you a NAZI?

  • indyernie

    The democrats are well qualified to serve after all most are either former guest of the Jail or are under investigation.

  • Taxpayer 834512

    Keen observation on Harvey, Sir.

  • Think Again

    Really, Ernie? That's where you “go” on this issue? Same ole same ole? Don't you ever get tired? Stay on subject huh? Your “humor” isn't funny, nor true, nor pertinent…

  • Taxpayer 834512

    Being “bought-out”, I get. Mayor Ballard's “potential” succumbing to temptations that are waved in front of nearly any prominent elected official are why our re-elected imcumbents typically don't serve the average taxpayer- just the special interests that get them elected.

    But, what I don't get is what was his motivation for Straub? Or, the new guy from Baltimore? At the beginning of his administration, I might think it was to throw-out bad apples- but now? After the junkyard/auto parts/moonlighting fiasco, and having nary a word to say about Brizzi? He thinks he'll get crossover votes?

    Hey, hiring those two is cheaper than bailing out the Pacers. But, I don't get it.

  • http://twitter.com/IndyStudent Matthew Stone

    I don't see why this would be a conflict for Abdul, so I disagree with TA. Abdul is an opinion man, and I don't see any ethical conflict.

    I'm a bit confused at the “attorney at law” identifier in the press release. Abdul's openly said he's only licensed in Illinois. But the release didn't identify him as council to the body,so I'm just going to assume that it identified him as such because they think his opinions on public safety have been shaped due to his background, part of which is being an attorney.

  • Think Again

    It's part of a journalistic thing, Matt, and I agree it's a close call. I think journalists, in all forms thereof, should err on the side of caution when it comes to formulating opinion in public bodies.

    Forming opinions on-air, or driving public comment, is Abdul's job.

    Close calls are tough ones. This one is a 51-49 call for me, but I just hope the entity that formed this committee doesn't assume anything with Abdul's presence.

    Amos is not a surprise. He'll schill for anyone anywhere anytime.
    But that's hardly the standard we ought to seek in our media opinion-shapers.

    In any good competitive media market, this practice would be forbidden by the employing entity (radio station, newspaper, TV station).

  • http://twitter.com/IndyStudent Matthew Stone

    We can agree on one thing. These meetings certainly should be open to the public. It is us, after all, that have to live with the success or failure of policy set by those in public safety.

  • IndyErnie

    Joanne Sanders arrested.
    Paul Bateman under investigation.
    McNeil arrested for assault.
    Gray investigated ghost employment and contract issues.
    Brown suspected of ghost employment.
    Oliver I don’t know about arrest but he is known to frequent illegal gaming houses.

    That’s six and that equals 50%.

    Funny NO factual yes.

  • Melyssa

    Nick, we could probably make up the city's budget shortfall if they made it pay per view!

    Once I was trying to get Abdul and Amos together for a fight night debate for charity. Abdul said he would do it, but Amos wrote me this long wordy email which essentially said nothing except that he wouldn't do it.

    Abdul would wipe the floor with Amos Brown in a debate forum which is why Brown would have no part of it.

    It's too bad, Amos could have helped raise a lot of money for Gleaners which would have helped out a lot of poor people in town. Evidently Amos puts his ego before the poor.

  • Abdul

    Couple things, my law license is in Illinois, where I still have a home and a bunch of other stuff. I don't practice here, but I do across the border. Pardon me if I don't discuss it; attorney/client privilege.

    I did promise my wife that after a year of wedded bliss, I'd consider changing over. She's living up to her part of the deal, so I likely will too. After all, you can't run if you don't meet the residency requirements, right? :-)

    Be careful what you wish for…

  • malercous

    You are PAID to bloviate? GTFO

  • Abdul Hakim-Shabazz

    By the way, nice of you to post with different names, but the same IP address.

  • Biggie

    You don't pay taxes in Indiana, and the Mayor wants you to hold this position?

    Wow. You must be a really important person.

  • Abdul

    Actually, I pay income and sales taxes, more than most people I'm willing to bet. Thanks for asking though.

  • BartsTies

    Oh, so you are just “kind of” breaking the law. I get it.