Sunday, October 07, 2007

Tully Experiences Life On The Edge

The Star's Matt Tully spent his summer in one of Indianapolis' least desirable neighborhoods--the Phoenix. For those of you who have lived in Indianapolis for a long time, you probably know the government-subsidized, 328-unit apartment complex as The Meadows. Tully begins the first of a 3-part series today sharing his experiences at the Phoenix. "No place is more troubled in Indianapolis than the Phoenix Apartments," Tully writes. Tully describes this hell hole in detail. The most outrageous part of his reporting is that the complex' owners, RCM Phoenix Partners, are receiving over $2 million in subsidized, Section 8 housing payments annually to operate a housing complex where your chances of being shot are greater than your chances of graduating from high school and attending college.

Tully recounts how the Goldsmith administration made a good faith attempt to clean up the crime-ridden neighborhood back in the 1990s. Goldsmith tells Tully it is the site of one of the "grandest failures" of his administration. What is shocking to believe is that the very neighborhood was once one of the most popular places to live in Indianapolis for young couples. Former Lt. Gov. John Mutz recounts to Tully how he and his wife lived in the neighborhood back in the 1960s. Today, police who work this beat tell Tully it's like "doing patrols in Afghanistan."

I'll be curious to see where Tully takes this story. You should pay close attention to Tully's account about how he met Rep. Greg Porter (D), who represents the district in the House of Representatives, at the complex to see how things were going there. Unbelievably, Porter arrived at his meeting with Tully talking about the Phoenix optimistically, "mentioning new charter schools" in the area. "See," he said, "the grass is cut." Tully said Porter's optimism faded quickly after the two talked to a few residents and observed first hand how bad things were in the complex. How could Porter not know how bad this place is? Does he not read the newspaper or watch the evening news? Crime reports are filled with happenings here.

Many of the residents of the Phoenix are African-American. Over the past 8 years, African-American influence in city-county government has reached an all-time high. With Democrats in control of the council, one of their own, Monroe Gray, now presides over the council. A third of the council members are black. The district's congresswoman is black. Our county sheriff, who is now in charge of the combined sheriff and former IPD police department, is black. What have these African-American leaders done about cleaning up the Phoenix? Moreover, why should the people who live in the Phoenix have any optimism about four more years of Democratic-control of city hall. Could they possibly do worse under a new Republican administration? As you ponder those questions, think about some of the issues which have pre-occupied some of these leaders time, such as defending illegal "pea shake" houses, putting a bar in the Julia Carson Government Center, winning city contracts for themselves and their friends and getting jobs for family members, among others. Do you see any correlation here?


Wilson46201 said...

The Meadows has always been in Washington Township but Gary Welsh somehow assumes it must be the responsibility of Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer - AdvanceIndiana then goes off on a rant against Black Democrats like Carl Drummer.

Facts and geography dont get in the way of AdvanceIndiana's personal crusade against elected African-Americans.

By the way, both the current and former Washington Township Trutees who actually dealt with the Meadows are inconvenient fact?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Stop trying to deflect attention away from those responsible, Wilson. Why haven't these leaders led on the Phoenix. Obviously, it isn't a priority for them.

Wilson46201 said...

Until just last year, the Washington Township Trustee responsible for the Meadows area was a white Republican and had been for decades ... another inconvenient fact?

Gary R. Welsh said...

No accountability, Wilson. Just what we thought.

Anonymous said...

Also Gary, "R" CCC Scheider, white conservtive, never been below 56th street. So whats he done. I'll tell you, nothing.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The Center Township Trustee has already been thoroughly discredited as a self-serving and out of touch trustee. Over $10 million in the bank and counting, more than $12 million in real estate investments and it costs him more to administer poor relief than any other trustee in the state. He could give a damn less about the poor. It just amazes me how people in the community tolerate such self-serving politicians who are only concerned about enhancing their own personal lifestyle. You can't point to any positive accomplishments of Drummer since Julia handed him her office and went off to Congress.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Comment moderation is turned on because of Wilson Allen. Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

The Phoenix, the Meadow are just visual sights of Democratic liberal ideas gone bad and their failed policies perpetuating welfare for those who can work, the destruction of families due to accessing the handouts etc. Keep voting them in. Indianpolis is heading down the tubes.

Anonymous said...

Wait a min here. There are the township dividing lines and then there are areas that are actually served by the trustee's. Although the Meadows falls into Washington Township proper, it is still in an area controlled by Center Township. The fire protection has always been IFD, the EMS has always been Wishard, and the police (until the merger) had always been IPD. If you go by the old boundaries, Center township wouldnt be much bigger than the downtown area. This area is served, or in this case, underserved by the center Township trustee.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, an inconvenient fact??????
Maybe the reason so many African-Americans live in the Phoenix/Meadows is that they are better served by the 'white' Washington Twp Trustee than that so called Center Twp Trustee...... that you bend over backwards to defend???
Maybe they live there by choice, 'cause they can't get the assistance they need from Center Twp.... so they just moved from Center Twp?
Maybe that is "just the facts."

Anonymous said...

No one seems to want to address the issue of precisely what caused the downfall of this area of the city in the first place, White Flight.
What made whites move out taking their money and their businesses with them.
The Meadows died a quick death, it did not happen over many decades.
I have seen this in many cities like Cleveland, Detroit, St.Louis and Baltimore.
I tend to believe that Marion County and it's donut counties just might be the most socially and economically segregated area in the United States.
The Eastlake area of Atlanta made it back to life why not the Meadows. Or is the Meadows to be one of Indy's first urban prairies?

Anonymous said...

9:22, The old city limits (pre-unigov) are the current boundaries of the Indianapolis Public School District.
Since 1970,pre-unigov Indianapolis has lost over 160,000 mostly white residents.
Center TWP is "old Indianapolis".

Anonymous said...

The race of any trustee, or those served by the trustee, is irrelevant.

The plight of these folks, and thousands more like them all over the city, is important.

When will be learn that shoving poor folks into one area of town almost invites violence? Many, but not all, of the folks perpetrating this violence are under-educated, unemployed statistics of "the system." Some try to get out, many can't. Just a plain fact.

If Greg Porter didn't know about these folks, perhaps he needs to walk across the street from his government job (as a VP of Health & Hospital Corp., at a handsome salary, whose office is just west of Meadows) and breathe some real air. Yeah, I know, H&H isn't strictly "government," but it's 95% government.

Perhaps we have a lot of trouble with elected folks, because so G--damned many of them have sucked at the public trough their entire lives. God love public servants, but they live in a dream world that the private sector would not tolerate. They get paid next week whether they work hard or hide out in their cubicles.

If they had to work in the real world, and watch small business and big corporations struggle under their regulaitons to make payroll every week, they might feel differently.

I'm beginning to think government service should only come after a mandatory term in the private sector. Then we wouldn't have any Meadowses of the world.

As for Tully--this is easily his best writing ever. But we was wayyyyyyy overdue. It must have tuckered him out. He didn't write his political column today. It's hard work dragging Greg Porter's ass around the Meadows, huh?

Sir Hailstone said...

The reaction of Greg Porter just said it all. They have no CLUE whats going on in there. NO CLUE.

"See the grass is cut". Mentioning the charter school. Then witnessing the drug deal.

Anonymous said...

Just a question. As an veteran officer with IMPD(ex ipd) , I am just curious if anyone wonders about the Sheriff? Since Jan 1 I have heard exactly Zero from him in reference to the Dept. My understanding was that he was in charge. I have not seen one instance of that.

With all of these murders the last 2 weeks, I would think that I might have heard a word of encouragement or a plan. Yet , the silence is unexplainable.

No one has even seen him on the tv.

Officers have no idea what he does in relation to IMPD.

Can any of the citizens here help me to understand why the person who is alledgely in charge of my dept. has not been seen or heard.

Anonymous said...

Notice the article said REPUBLICAN Goldsmith tried to improve the Meadows but failed. Haven't seen Dems working on it since they created the policies that contributed to it. No one can fix it-because the residents do not take advantage of their free public education to improve themselves.

Unknown said...

9:22, what are you talking about? It is in Washington Township, so poor relief is the responsibility of the Washington Township Trustee. All that other stuff you mention has nothing to do with townships.

Anonymous said...

The truth is, you can accept the Meadows and other places like it in this city or you can move out. The problems will never be fixed. Civil rights are one thing but economic empowerment via capital is something entirely different. Black people today can eat, live and shop where they want to but if they don't have any money then what good is it?

Anonymous said...

Who is the Center Township Assessor? What is his salary? Is he also employed by IPS at rathar handsome salary?