Tuesday, September 07, 2010

It's All About The Super Bowl

The future of Indianapolis rests entirely on hosting the 2012 Super Bowl. That's the same thing folks up in Detroit said when it hosted the Super Bowl a few years ago for those keeping score on the massive public subsidies for anything sports-related. Fellow blogger Paul Ogden, who apparently is one of a handful of people who still listens to controversial radio talk show host Abdul Hakim Shabazz, says Mayor Greg Ballard cited the 2012 Super Bowl as a primary reason for selling off the City's parking meter business to the politically-connected ACS during a radio appearance on Shabazz' show this morning. Ogden writes:

When asked about the ACS parking deal, the Mayor emphasized that a major, if not THE major, reason to do the deal is that the $35 million up front payment could be used for downtown infrastructure improvements before the 2012 Super Bowl. I seem to recall Candidate Ballard in 2007 talking about how this City spends too much on professional sports. And now the Mayor wants to mortgage the next fifty years to get upfront cash so the City looks nice and presentable for one football game?
I would add that Mayor Ballard also promised that no tax dollars would be spent on hosting the 2012 Super Bowl. By my count, the City has already spent or committed spending at least $20 million, including the Georgia Street project and the expanded cultural trail, improvements intended to spruce up downtown ahead of the Super Bowl. Yes, those projects are funded with federal tax dollars, but it's money that could have been spent on other street and sidewalk improvements that should have been given a higher priority. As always, it's all about downtown. If the downtown elites could figure out how to do it, they would pave the streets and sidewalks downtown with gold even as the rest of the city crumbles from years of neglect. As a downtown homeowner, selfishly, it's great for me, but it's totally unfair to continue the grossly disproportionate investment in downtown. Detroit thought the Renaissance Center would save its city but as has now become abundantly clear that unprecedented investment in a major city downtown did little to stem the decaying and rotting neighborhoods that made up the city. Drive around Indianapolis and you can see the unprecedented number of abandoned and decaying homes and neighborhoods as people flee to the suburban areas for a better way of life.

One more note on that parking meter deal. It turns out Ryan Vaughn isn't the only City-County Councilor facing a big conflict of interest with the proposed vote on the privatization deal with ACS. Angel Rivera's employer, The Consultants Consortium (TCC) gets most of its business working as a subcontractor for ACS, which operates the terribly dysfunctional call center for FSSA in Marion, Indiana. TCC's lobbyist is Tom John, the Marion County GOP Chairman who pushed Rivera's appointment to the City-County Council seat Kent Smith vacated earlier this year. John's law firm, Ice Miller, is getting paid big bucks to do the legal work for the city on the parking meter deal with ACS. Rivera thinks he doesn't have a conflict, however, because his employer's lifeline subcontract with ACS has nothing to do with the parking meter deal. I'm still awaiting Vaughn's excuse on why his law firm's representation of ACS in getting this parking meter deal doesn't pose a conflict of interest for him. As usual, the local news media is asleep at the switch as the buying and selling of city assets for the personal enrichment of a corrupt bunch of self-dealing insiders takes place right under their noses.


Liberal Hoosier said...

Ryan Vaughn works at Barnes, not Ice?

Advance Indiana said...

I didn't say Vaughn works for Ice. I said John works for Ice. Ice represented the City in this parking lease deal, while Barnes represented ACS's interests in the deal at the same time the firm was under contract to advise Mayor Ballard on other matters. Ballard, of course, says he didn't know Barnes represented ACS.

Paul K. Ogden said...


I believe the Mayor also said he didn't know Loftus represented ACS.

As far as listening to Abdul's show, when I hear the Mayor's going to be on, I try to listen. He always screws up and talks off-script. I'm not a regular listener. The whole "homer" approach to running a radio show gets real old, real fast.

Mike Kole said...

Why do you insist on using the word 'controversial' every time you mention Abdul? I see this blog as 'controversial', and controversial as not a bad thing. It's a good thing.

I wish you guys would end your feud. Every time I see it from either of you, I find it detracting from what you do- which is a shame, because your blog is quite excellent otherwise.

Advance Indiana said...

Uuuhh, let's see, he advocates police beatings, he published the IndyUndercover blog using the alias Joe Friday as a cover for his paid political side work, his blog outed the identity of a confidential police informant, he lied about the reason his blog was being investigated by police, he claims to be a practicing attorney in Illinois but can't tell anyone what kind of law he practices, he claims to be an Illinois resident but lives and works in Indianapolis. I could go on, but yep, he's a controversial figure.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Mike, I'm with AI on this one. You libertarians need to wake up to the fact that Abdul sold his soul long ago and is nothing more than a shill for a big spending, big government administration. And that's not even mentioning his questionable ethics.

Cato said...

I'm with Gary and Paul on this.

Abdul is a merger of news making and news reporting.

At worst, he's a running undeclared campaign contribution to the Republicans.

Lenore Hanick said...

ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDINGS - SEC Charges Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. With Stock Options Backdating and False Disclosures:
"The SEC's complaint, filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C., alleges that from 1995 to 2006, ACS engaged in a fraudulent and deceptive scheme to provide executives and other employees with undisclosed compensation."
Above is a part of a recent into ACS.

Seriously folks let's get real.
Public officials are supposed to be trustees of the commonweal, not political
buccaneers seeking their own private gain. But sometimes, in what economists call a
principal-agent problem, those trustees forsake that obligation and misuse the power
delegated to them in ways that advance their personal interests rather than those of the
Corruption distorts the allocation of resources toward projects that
can generate illicit payoffs. Besides the undesirable efficiency consequences arising
from this distortion, the effect is likely to aggravate social inequalities, because the poor and powerless suffer, by definition, a comparative disadvantage in securing special favors.
If the $500,000 has to be paid if the City-County Council will not vote for the ACS deal. Pay ACS's political blackmail scheme and get them out of town. Like all the other commentaries together with articles I've been reading have showed, ACS is not the kind of corporation we want in our town. Political blackmail, special interests, conflict of interests, WHERES THE FBI? WHERES THE FEDS?
Has anyone ever read ACS Ethical Standards they try to impose on their employees at the welfare office. Their employees aren't allowed to accept even a Christmas card. Yet the CEO's and Directors of this company have done just that.
ACS is a shameful, unethical, disgraceful hypocrite, not to mention the so called "leaders" of Indianapolis for creating this mess.
What an embarassment to our city.