Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ballard Taking 30-Member Team On Junket To Super Bowl

For the past several years, the City of Indianapolis has used the excuse of hosting a Super Bowl for taking big teams on junkets to the Super Bowl game on the taxpayers' dime. Mayor Peterson took a team of people to the Super Bowl in Miami when the Colts played there in 2007 to gather ideas on how to put on a Super Bowl. Ballard has taken a team with him to Super Bowls for the last two years, even though the Colts weren't playing in the game. This year, Ballard will have a team of 30 persons accompany him to Miami, Florida. This will include staff from Indianapolis Downtown, Inc., the Indianapolis Airport Authority, representatives of area hotels and at least six public safety employees.

According to a WRTV report, the City will only pay for the public safety employees' travel at a cost of about $10,000. Public Safety Liaison Gary Koontz is one of those public safety workers taking the junket. You may recall he is the former Perry Township Trustee who traded his support for the fire district merger that is costing Marion Co. taxpayers dearly for a new job with the City. City officials claim the rest of the expenses are being picked up by the 2012 Super Bowl Committee, which operates as another slush fund the mayor can dip into to pay for his lavish travel demands. Ballard has racked up a travel schedule around the world unlike any mayor in the history of the City since taking office. He's taken junkets to Europe for a big private birthday party bash, a trip to Asia and a trip to Brazil in just two years, on top of the annual Super Bowl trips, NCAA Final Four in Detroit, Denver and so on.

Our Colts team will be staying at a Marriott Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale at least a 30-minutes drive from the Miami Dolphins practice field it will use to prepare for the big game. It's funny how Indianapolis is required to build a brand new indoor practice field for one of the teams competing in the 2012 Super Bowl at a cost of millions because the NFL supposedly said practice fields at IU or Purdue were too far away for one of the teams to travel. Long travel distances in heavy traffic areas for the teams don't seem to be a problem in Miami. I think someone just wanted an excuse to brag about having two indoor practice fields within a few miles of the downtown.

7 comments:

Had Enough Indy? said...

Let the good times roll !

Downtown Indy said...

And they have yet to start on the practice facility, I believe.

There was a story on one of the local newscasts last week about projects that were laid out by the NFL but are behind schedule or not started.

Cato said...

Isn't travel abuse a hallmark of Republican governmental employees?

Recall Heather Bolejack, Silvia Miller (now at Corporation Counsel), and the rest of the retinue at Indiana Criminal Justice Institute that got stung for excessive travel.

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

So more of my tax dollars have to pay for football when my city is rotting with more than 15,000 abandoned homes?

Perhaps people need to picket the city during the Super Bowl in front of the world's television cameras with signs that point to the fact that within mere blocks of the grand Ir$ay Gladitorium our city is in decay.

Indy Student said...

Melyssa,

That's actually one of my concerns. Come 2012, eyes will be on Indianapolis. It'll only take one reporter to wander a few blocks away from LOS to see how our city really is. I can easily think of a dozen or so abandoned buildings in the downtown area.

Cato said...

You guys are on the right track. Indy will regret putting itself on a national stage. Indy will be humiliated by the criticism it receives from the national and world media.

It was the dam silliest thing for Indy to put that stadium downtown, as it kills the downtown. In Indy, there's nowhere to go. In most cities, you can go downtown, which is kinda businessy, and you can head for a bunch of cool neighborhoods or waterfront areas.

In Indy, there's a tiny and boring downtown that's going to be cold, and there's what else? The two blocks of Broad Ripple would be invisible in any other city.

Look for visitors to say "we can always go to [Cincy or Chicago]."

If they held the Super Bowl in Miami, every year, few would mind.

Advance Indiana said...

Most folks will not plan week-long trips to Indianapolis like they do when the Super Bowl is in a warm weather city like Miami. People will fly in on Friday or Saturday and head out on the first flight Monday. The plan is to create a green zone downtown. Blocks of the downtown area will be blocked off for credentialed attendees and not accessible to the general public. There will be many heated temporary enclosures within the closed off streets as I understand it. Essentially, if you aren't attending the Super Bowl or have a special invitation to one of the parties, you will be on the outside looking in.