Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Indianapolis Is Broke: A Must See Short Documentary

This is a must see short video documentary on what is wrong with Indianapolis' continued public funding of the sports and convention industries. If there was an award for best short documentary, this would be high on my list. I don't agree with every point it makes, but for the most part, it hits the mark right on. Follow the link and share it with your friends. I can't get the YouTube video to publish right now on this site but will upload it later when I can get it to work. I would attribute the creator's name if I knew who it was.


M Theory said...

Thanks for posting it here, Gary. I also sent it to the Mayor's Press Secretary, so he can warn the Mayor that a citizen led revolt is brewing.

We'll see who the Mayor chooses to serve...his new elite friends or the good people of this city who elected him.

I want you and Ogden to receive immediate appointments to the CIB Board with full access to its records so that you can report to us. As I see it, that's about the only thing that would stave off a revolt.

Is there any legal obstacle to the mayor appointing additional board members to the CIB?

P.s. I have no idea who the video producer "Unigov" is.

Patriot Paul said...

I'll give it a grade of "A".

Bulldog said...

One question to those who are fired up about the CIB - this video seems to speak against the CIB and Indy sports franchises as a whole because they utilize (waste) taxpayer money. I understand that point of view - sports franchizes are private and make private profit, so they should not be supported by taxpayer dollars. OK - let's take that as true and follow it to its logical conclusion. No taxpayer support would certtainly mean Indy would lose its franchises. We just aren't profitable enough of a market and private enterprise is private enterprise. The owners will split for greener pastures. Right or wrong - greed or good business that is what will happen (or at least let's assume that for the rest of this hypothesis). I'll take a liberty and assume the author of this video and many of those who are opposed to the workings of the CIB may say, so be it - the city gets no benefit from sports franchises and we do not need them (I think the video may even say that directly, but don't remember - regardless let's assume this for a second).

If that is truly a position supported by those who oppose the CIB, then I ask: Can someone in that camp put themselves in the position of the mayor (generic hypothetical mayor of indianapolis, not any particular mayor)and give me the talking points they would use to respond to the public discontent that I believe would follow us losing the Pacers and Colts? I know they are expensive and I know mistakes and perhpaps misdeeds have been made, but I promise you, people care about their teams. If you doubt it, take a walk through any grocery store on a Colt's Sunday. You will see folks from 8 months to 80 in a Colt's jersey. Right or wrong, these teams are part of what bind us as residents of Indy and they generate alot of pride and plain 'ol entertainment.

"The People" will kick and scream like you have never heard against the man or woman who "lost the Colts". How could, should, or would a mayor respond to that public outcry? What words of comfort could he or she give to ease the anger? How does that mayor fair in the next election? I'm really trying not to be critical and genuinely want to hear your thoughts. To me, this has always been the big, 800 pound elephant of an unanswered question in the CIB/fat cat franchize owner criticism.

Downtown Indy said...

"We just aren't profitable enough of a market and private enterprise is private enterprise."

Sums it up pretty well. I for one am not so hung up on having a blue jersey to wear as I am having decent living conditions and fair taxes.

A handful of people have so little self worth they have to be hangers-on for a sports franchise to 'be somebody' and for that we should accept huge financial blunders that our grandchildren will still be paying for?

I don't think so.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Bulldog, That is the way these leaders always deal with us on this issue. They put a gun to our heads and tell us if we don't go along with this plan, the Pacers or the Colts are going to leave town. The people of this community have given and given and given to these sports franchise owners. Each time, we're told we've reached the plateau, only to discovery a few years later that the bar has been raised to a whole new level. We have reached the point where we simply can't give any more. If what we are offering isn't enough, then we are better off if these teams leave town. I don't believe that is going to happen. Remember how we were told Irsay was planning to move the team to L.A. As it turns out, L.A. wasn't in the least bit interested in doing anything to lure the Colts to L.A. We should be looking at a city like Austin, Texas and ask how they do it without a professional sports team. The City is a boom town compared to Indianapolis and is rich in culture. Our city's reputation was built as the racing capital of the world thanks to the Hulman family. We reap huge econommic benefits from the Speedway's presence and yet, we haven't spent a dime of the taxpayers' money to subsidize the Speedway's operation, and they haven't asked for help. The IRL is imperiled right now in this economic downturn and declining interest in their racing events. Is anyone calling for a public bailout for them?

Downtown Indy said...

Irsay has his 'game' down so good, that he's teaching other teams how to use it too:


Downtown Indy said...

A nifty timeline for stadium progress from the Lebanon Reporter, entitled 'Marion County needs our wallets again'.

And it quotes some of your articles, Gary.

Sean Shepard said...

I like the video but felt like it jumped the tracks at the end with the racism bit; but, I live within the supposed "red zone" in Pike Township.

People jump to racism when there are probably far more nuanced reasons why people move to more "status" areas. I mean, I'm pretty sure if you move from Indianapolis to Hamilton County you get a .65% income tax decrease and at one time Carmel had better property tax rates than Indianapolis (Brainard hasn't seen a government spending project he doesn't like though - Carmel is probably in trouble in the future).

Heck, just getting away from IPS might be a reason for some people.

I just don't like it when people to default to skin pigmentation as a reason for anyone to do anything. Does it happen, I'm sure it does, but there are larger reasons I have to believe. It's not 1960 anymore.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Sean, I thought the whole attack on a light rail system was misplaced; otherwise, it was dead on. The rail system benefits poor inner city folks as much as it does suburbanites. It gives them job mobility they don't currently have if they can't afford a vehicle or don't have a valid driver's license.

Sean Shepard said...

AI. I agree 100%. That is something I didn't think about that you very astutely mentioned, the mobility factor.

I know many Marion County folks who always make their housing decisions based on proximity to a IndyGo stop.

Easing congestion from the North Side into town would benefit even Marion County folks driving around town with less traffic and, theoretically, fewer accidents as a result. Hard to talk someone out of their 300ES or Accord and onto a train though.

Unigov said...

Hello, I'm the video author.

There was a question on what Ballard could possibly do now. In my opinion, he messed up by appointing Grand, so I'm not sympathetic to him at all - he's a pawn.

The CIB is not part of the city, it was created by the state, and the state will have to figure out what to do. Were I Ballard I'd go on TV and say that the whole ball of wax cooked up in the past 25 years is failing, and that city taxes should not be increased to support sports. There's a bill in the statehouse to create a CIB in Fort Wayne.

As for the racism thing, it's debatable to what extent that is a factor - but I have to look past people's intentions and motivations and look at people's actions, and the outcomes of those actions. Ballard said his first priority is crime, when in fact his first act was to join in the Super Bowl push. People in the poor parts of Center Township might as well be living in Haiti, with the violence and poverty. Just about everyone involved in the CIB and Clts and Pacers and Circle Centre and Light Rail are white, I think they're at best insensitive to the plight of poor people, and that population in Indy is overwhelmingly black or Latino.

As for light rail benefiting the poor - the initial plan places the first train stop north of downtown at 71st Street. Whatever hundreds of millions are going to be spent to get train service established to Noblesville, should go for buses inside 465 so poor people can get around. Trains are a stupid answer because they are fixed in location. Plus a train between downtown to Noblesville is fairly worthless if you live around MLK and West 29th Street.

I have other videos in mind and hope to create one about the history and impact of racism in Indy, as well as one on the role of the Star in the current problems.

Cheers - Unigov

Poor&Proud said...

The people of Indianapolis now very clearly understand that Greg Ballard sold us out to the law firms, the Country-Club GOP and the sport team owners. Greg Ballard is the most unethical and dishonest person ever to hold the office of mayor in Indianapolis.
I will not waste time commenting on Bob Grand, Scott Newman, Olgen Williams and others....what a joke on the citizens!

Citizen Kane said...

One doesn't need a 100 million dollar + train boondoggle when a few buses will do.

M Theory said...

I had a beer with some friends tonight. EVERYONE is pissed at the CIB and at the Mayor's lack of leadership.

By the way, if the Colts leave town we're better off. We still have stadium and we'll get to KEEP ALL THE REVENUE FROM ALL THE EVENTS. We give the Colts revenue from that monstrosity now.

If the Colts leave town, we still host the Super Bowl.

Who can afford their games anyway? I'd rather give my extra $$$ to charity.

The taxpayers might have Ir$ay over a barrel and the CIB too.

Sean Shepard said...

First off, I still believe in Mayor Ballard, but I do fear that the same thing happened to him that happens to lots of politicians. The insiders circled the wagons and start promoting each other as being the people that are really needed on 'the team' to do things right and they know 'how things work'. yadda yadda. It ends up being the same players over and over again, especially in a surprise win when somebody might, not suggesting that is the case here, but might be going, "oh crap. what do I do now!?'

Unigov. Keep the videos coming. Regarding having to judge based on what people do, that is dangerous as it allows data points to be aligned with each other at the indifference to other outside influences.

Let's assume I think big corporations hate America and are trying to cheat the government. Then I look at all the jobs going overseas and the offshore tax shelters and funds awaiting repatriation. BINGO! There is my evidence.

But then a good libertarian guy like me comes along and says, "Wait a minute. The United States has the 2nd highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. We have one of the highest levels of regulation (even Communist China has less). Unlike other countries exports cannot be tax adjusted. Minimum wage laws and constant intervention in labor markets to the detriment of private property owners."

So when we talk about people moving. Let's not forget people desiring to live with others they have things (hobbies, business dealings, or other) in common with, the status factor of living in Carmel, Zionsville or Geist. How much nicer those areas sometimes look. Perception of better school systems. How well people take care of their property. Property values. Age of properties. Upkeep. Tax levels. Lots of issues beyond just "white flight".

Paul K. Ogden said...


I don't agree that the CIB is part of the state and not the city.

Unlike the relationship between the national and state governemnts, which is federal in nature, ALL local government is a subunit of state government. The cities, counties and townships were created by the state government and ultimately anser to the state. The fact that the CIB was created by the state doesn't make it a state entity. It's a local government entiry, a quasi-governmental entity that is part of Indianapolis government.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Here's a little history lesson for all of you as to why the CIB and other entities like it exist throughout the State of Indiana. Our state constitution imposes a limit on how much debt any unit of government can incur. That limitation exists because of the canal-building fiasco back in the pre-Civil War era that left the state bankrupt. To skirt these limits beginning in the 20th century, the General Assembly started creating this separate quasi-governmental entities with separate powers to tax and borrow. Even though the CIB is clearly part of Uni-Gov, the courts allow the fiction that it is not a part of Uni-Gov and, therefore, its debt doesn't count as debt of the City of Indianapolis. And so what happens? This non-transparent creation leads up back to the very problem our state constitution sought to protect us against.

Chris Of Rights said...

It's worth pointing out that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway contributes over $1 billion to the local economy.

Every year.

And they have never asked for a single dime from the city, county, or state. The -only- concession of any kind that they request is extra police protection on race day.