Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bart's Disinformation Campaign

Mayor Bart Peterson's campaign to convince Indianapolis voters that things really aren't as bad as they appear has begun in earnest. A newcomer to the blogosphere, Polis Politics, does a good job dissecting Peterson's latest campaign commercial. Here's the script and Polis Politics' reaction:

"Bart Peterson is working hard for Indianapolis,.."

At least yesterday, he was working hard doing yardwork in a westside neighborhood.

"...and all of us are proud of what Indianapolis has become."

Minus the daily arson reports and rampant crime problem.

"Today, we're cleaning up our rivers and streams, protecting them for tomorrow."

This is Peterson's top accomplisment? I'd love to look at EPA or Indiana Natural Resources stats on how clean our waterways actually are.

"A fiscal conservative, Peterson's cut tens of millions from the city budget, eliminating layers of buearacracy..."

Interesting Peterson highlights his "fiscal conservatism" days after announcing an $85 million tax hike. That would make any fiscal conservative proud.

"...and we've made Indianapolis one of the best places to live and work."

There is no place we would rather live than Indianapolis. However, crime stats and taxes are driving my fellow Indianapolis residents outside of the county.

"Today, Indianapolis is on the winning track."

This is said with Tony Dungy and our Colts raising their Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl XLI. I hope Bill Polian doesn't feel Peterson is taking credit for his team's victory.

"Bart Peterson, leadership that's working for Indianapolis."

Failing to address public safety issues until it is almost too late is not leadership, and it is definitely not working in our city's favor. I will say it does take guts to announce an $85 million tax increase in an election year.

Overall, Peterson's ad does a decent job of promoting his few advancements while hiding his glaring inadequacies. We trust that the public knows better.

It really is surreal watching the ad. Like Polis Politics, I hope Indianapolis voters aren't as stupid as Peterson's campaign must think they are. Marion Co. GOP Chairman Tom John was also trying to draw attention to just how out of touch the ad is with the city's true state of affairs. He called it "a slick production that attempts to hide the mayor's horrible record on crime--the real issue facing Indianapolis." Adding a little perspective, John says:

"The mayor's first ad was full of platitudes about crime, but the reality on the streets is that things have gotten worse. We've seen over a dozen arson fires on the Southside and vulnerable seniors attacked in their homes. Our city is on pace to break its murder record, and we've seen a record number of carjackings," said John.

"I don't blame the mayor and his political handlers change the subject and hide his record. But 'pretty pictures' won't reduce the anxiety people feel about the growing violent crime problem," said John.

"The citizens of this city aren't fooled, and they don't feel safe. They want to know a lot more about the mayor's $85 million tax increase, and yet there's not a word about it in the mayor's latest campaign ad," added John.

"The Peterson tax hike doesn't put new cops on the beat. Maybe the mayor should spend at least part of his $3 million campaign war chest telling us how tax hike will make us safer and fight crime in our neighborhoods without adding police to the streets," stated John.


Wilson46201 said...

Why do Republicans want to throw little old ladies who are widows of retired police and firemen out onto the streets and onto public welfare? How does the local GOP plan to deal with the massive underfunded pension debt they dumped onto the taxpayers? They hollered "No New Taxes!" while promising LEOs a secure retirement. Peterson now has to make good the hollow promises of past Republican administrations while the out-of-power Republicans of today just holler once again "No New Taxes!"

GOP: Honor your past promises to the cops and firemen! Don't penalize widows and children for partisan political gain!

Anonymous said...

"GOP: Honor your past promises to the cops and firemen! Don't penalize widows and children for partisan political gain!"

Again Wilson distorts the truth. Blame it on the Republicans after eight years of a Democrat Mayor?
We had the money, Peterson diverted it elsewhere.

Raise taxes? We may have to.
First the City needs to sell off assets, like the real estate held by Center Township and other city property not being used.
Account for all the money now budgeted and raise taxes only after we know how much is really needed.
Spend, Spend, Spend has to stop.

Lie, Lie, Lie by the Mayor isn't helping.

Wilson46201 said...

pssst: the City of Indianapolis has absolutely no authority whatsoever over Township property. Learn some basic civics before making uninformed comments about budgetary matters! Solutions won't come from ignorance and sleazy sloganeering...

Anonymous said...

AI, I have recently found Polis Politics too and I really enjoyed the take on the TV ad. I have added it to one of my favs with yours.

Anonymous said...

I also liked this analysis on Bart's 'plans':
In Peterson Plan I, Bart promised to reduce crime, improve education and build better neighborhoods. He also promised 200 more cops (pg. 2). What do we have, more crime, horrible education and unsafe neighborhoods and he's 177 cops short of that 200.

In Peterson Plan II, he said he opposed consolidating IPD with MCSD (pg 49), he promised to promote more financial literacy for the poor (pg. 55) and he promised to enhance the quality of life for our seniors (pg. 57). What do we have, a consolidated department, more home foreclosures and seniors getting attacked in their own homes.

Anonymous said...


Every year the budget has money in it to pay toward the pension plans for the Police and Fire pension funds.

Now this year the Mayors wants to raise taxes by 85 Million to cover the cost of those budget items for the pension funds.

My question is - If the city had the money last year and they say they need 85 million more this year is the city bringing in 85 million LESS in revenue this year or is that that money that was paying toward the pension fund now being spent elsewhere ?

Wilson46201 said...

A major problem about those pensions is a change accountants made recently - it's hitting all entities. The percentage required to be set aside for future pensions was increased by prudent professional accountants.

It isn't that pensions are paid out of current revenues but that money has to be allocated for future pensions. I gather Indianapolis had never really been setting aside sufficiently for that future pension kitty. Now it's finally beginning to catch up with the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Wilson - This is not something NEW. Back in 2001 the Mayor said Pensions were a priority.


Media Contact:
Steve Campbell, [317] 327-3690
Jo Lynn Garing, [317] 327-3690

Mayor makes police, fire pension relief city’s top legislative priority

Indianapolis – Mayor Bart Peterson today called police and firefighter pension relief his "number one priority" in the 2001 legislative session and called for a united effort by the City-County Council, Marion County legislators and other local officials to push for a solution.


"There will be many important issues for our city before the General Assembly, but there is none more important than this one," he added. "This pension shortfall is a ticking time bomb that can threaten the financial future of Indianapolis and many other cities across the state."

But since 2001 the city has come up with the money to meet their obligations.

The question is why are they having a problem this year that requires 85 million more - and is it PER YEAR - EVERY YEAR ?

Anonymous said...

And about the pension . . .

What Bart wants to do is BORROW 450 million to pay 35 million a year to cover the pension fund.

From his 85 million plan - 35 million -
Debt service on $450 million bond issue to pay unfunded liability for city’s share police and fire pensions.

garyj said...

Wilson.. Lets look closely at Barts Lies! 4:05 covered them pretty well.
Why don't you jump on the band wagon with us Wilson? Get Bart out!! Will it take you being a victim of Barts increased crime wave, spending 25 minutes on hold with 911, and waiting 2 hours for a cop before you realize that Bart has done NOTHING for this city!
I hope none of that happens to you, but if it does, be prepared. The waiting is what you can expect!

Wilson46201 said...

The first thing I thought of when first seeing the Peterson commercial was the famous 1984 Ronald Reagan "Morning in America" TV spot. An effective "feel-good" re-introductory advertisement ...

The pension problem has been growing worse for years now -- financing solutions for it hasnt been easy. Obviously!

garyj said...

It would have been easier if we didn't have to give Irsay millions of tax dollars AND a new stadium.
All the other NFL owners paid for at least 1/2 of the stadiums they play in. What makes Indy so much richer? Oh, yeah. Bart made the deal without consulting the taxpayers first!

Anonymous said...

Wilson - The pension problem has been growing worse for years now -- financing solutions for it hasnt been easy. Obviously!

So are you in favor of Borrowing 450 Million now to pay toward the pension ? How much INTEREST are we paying back on those bonds ?

Large debt, such as bonds, is usually paid off over a period of 10 to 35 years. As an example, at an interest rate of 6%, the cost of
paying off debt over 20 years would be about $1.73 for each dollar borrowed–$1 for the dollar borrowed and 73 cents for the interest.

So on 450 Million bond paid back over 20 years will cost on average 780 million - over 20 years that is almost 40 mill a year.

But if we just paid the 450 mill over 20 years that would cost us 22 mill a year.

Anonymous said...

Lots of junior-rate civic accounting going on about some reality?

Yeah, the commercials point out a rosey picture. And? You expected him to highlight his failures?

Pension obligations are more strenuous than before for two main reasons: Wilson mentions one, a change in the customary accounting procedures adopted by the federal standards board. It called for more reserves and multiple other safeguards, that have not been in place heretofore...all cost more money.

The other is simple:

We're living longer, thus pensioners are collecting more.

This will not improve. In fact, the federal accounting standards board is contemplating adopting yet another, tougher set-aside standard.

Gird your loins. Accounting-wise, that is.


* the city has zero influence over Carl Drummer's ridiculous land grabs, which have the unintended effect of driving up Center tax rates, to make up for the tax-exempt land. Not to mention the rent Center folks don't collect while he stores his personal property in these white elephant properties.
His day is coming. Have no fear.

* I'm not a huge Stadium fan, but to dispel the common urban myth, not one cent of property tax dollars went to Irsay.

Bart 61%, that other Republican guy 39%/ best.

Anonymous said...

To me this is the unanswered question.

Is the mayor saying we need a one time lump sum of 450 Million this year to satisfy some new accounting rules ? Or is he saying we will need 450 million over the next X number years.

The difference to me is that scenario one is like buying a house - you have to pay everything up front like a bank loan - then you pay it back overtime.

The other way is like paying for cable. You know you have to pay X amount each month or year but you do not get a loan to pay your cable bill for the next 30 years !

If he is proposing to raise taxes and 35 mill goes to pay toward the pension fund and its new accounting obligations it seems the second way is the preferred method.

Anonymous said...

I emailed on Monday the mayors office via the comment box on the Indygov site asking about the 450 million. No reply as of yet.