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.