Republican mayoral candidate Greg Ballard called on Mayor Bart Peterson to guarantee to taxpayers that he will spend the $85 million public safety tax increase he has requested to put new police officers into our neighborhoods.
“We must stem the rising tide of crime and first and foremost that means cops on the street,” Ballard said. Explaining further, Ballard noted, “at a cost of $80 thousand dollars per officer, the Mayor could easily hire the additional 900 officers Sheriff Anderson called for three years ago.”
Sheriff Anderson stated three years ago that these officers would be needed to adequately cover the county under a merged Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Ballard concluded, “I call on the Mayor to use this proposed tax increase to hire a minimum of 750 additional officers and reopen substations in underserved areas.”
In addition, Ballard called again for the reopening of the former IPD North District substation, pointing to crime in the area as a dramatic example of the effects of a decreased presence by street officers. According to Ballard, “The attacks on senior citizens in this area must stop now.
While I am pleased a suspect has been identified, there is no excuse for the Mayor to have allowed violence in this area to continue unchecked for so long.”
Ballard said that, if elected, it will not take him eight years to realize public safety must be the mayor's top priority. It will be his priority from day one.
"If Bart Peterson had followed through on his campaign promises and addressed public safety when he was first elected, or if he hadn’t cancelled cadet classes that would have meant much needed officers on the streets, we would all be safer now." Ballard stated.
"Once again, Indianapolis is being asked to sacrifice for Bart Peterson's poor planning and lack of leadership."
From what AI hears from area neighborhood leaders, Peterson plans to grant Ballard's wish, at least with respect to the north side police substation. A politically-connected real estate developer has been trying to get neighborhood buy-in for an $8 million planned renovation of a property at 34th & Central for more than 70 "affordable housing" units. The building is located across the street from one of the pea shake houses the city raided earlier this year in response to neighborhood complaints and the heat placed on the city by area bloggers. Area neighbors strongly opposed adding more low-income housing stock to the troubled neighborhood, but the developer found a magic bullet. AI hears the city will open a new police substation as part of the proposed redevelopment, which wins neighborhood support for an otherwise doomed project. The developer will also enjoy more than $700,000 in annual tax credits. And can you guess what law firm helped broker the deal?
Mayor Peterson's campaign will no doubt stage a press conference in the near future to announce the deal. And how can Ballard respond? I guess he could question whether the Mayor's interest in the neighborhood is driven by a true desire to improve it, or whether he's simply taking care of his close business and political friends as usual, and any public benefit derived from the project is merely coincidental. At any rate, this is what Ballard can expect for the remainder of the campaign. He's going to have to learn how to out-fox Peterson if he wants to make any headway in his already uphill campaign.