In 2007, Ballard -- a political outsider -- ousted two-term Peterson on a swell of anti-tax anger. He said his decision to seek re-election -- this time, as an insider -- came after careful deliberation.You don't feel passionate about public service, Greg. You feel passionate about having access to the pomp and circumstance of being mayor, including memberships to country clubs that wouldn't let you on their grounds four years ago, overseas junkets, free tickets to sporting events and concerts you and your family couldn't afford to attend before and frequent dinners at St. Elmos. You had a string of failed businesses and a low-paying teaching job before a group of grassroots supporters vaulted you into the mayor's office. And how did you repay them?
"What I'm hearing from the people is they really like what we're doing. They like the fiscal stewardship," Ballard said.
"To me, it's about public service, and if you feel passionate about what you have to do, then you go through the campaigning process. . . . If I didn't think we were making a difference, then I would stand aside. But the fact is, it's pretty obvious to most people in the city that we're making a pretty big difference."
But where Ballard sees fiscal stewardship, Democrats -- and some of Ballard's most fervent earlier backers -- say he has spurned his anti-tax stance from the campaign trail. They cite his support for a hotel tax increase, hikes in dozens of fees and financial support for the Indiana Pacers.You forgot the big one, Jon. Making Bart Peterson's 65% incrrease in the income tax permanent despite his claim in 2007 he would have cut the "fluff" out of the budget rather than raise the income tax. And that was before Gov. Daniels and the General Assembly bailed him out by assuming a half billion dollars in public safety pension debt that was supposed to be paid down with that 65% increase in the income tax increase. It's not "fiscal stewardship" to play shell games by transferring ownership of the city's utilities from one publicly-owned entity to another, calling it a sale and using the proceeds financed on the back of the ratepayers to line the pockets of your pay-to-play campaign contributors.
That is one of a dozen or more areas where Ballard's record will come under intense scrutiny.
Of course, some are happy with Ballard. He's done a great job," said [Ryan] Vaughn, a Republican. "He's been an atypical politician at a time when the city needed it. He's been focused on the blocking and tackling of local government." "It's exactly what we needed -- and what we need in the future." An "atypical politician"? And no, this isn't a football game, Ryan. Whatever. I think the odds are greater Ballard, Vaughn and the rest of their cronies who've been looting the city for the past three years will be answering questions before a federal grand jury than enjoying four more years in the mayor's office. Payback is a bitch, Greg.
UPDATE: Jon Murray's memory of the 2007 election may be short, but the local Libertarian Party's memory is not as short. Marion Co. Libertarian Party Chairman Timothy Maguire reminds us of a big promise Ballard made as a condition to seeking re-election when he ran back in 2007. Here's what Maguire says about that promise:
The Libertarian Party of Marion County (LPMC) is surprised to hear that Mayor Ballard will be making a campaign announcement on Saturday, since all signs point to the suggestion that he will be a candidate for Mayor again in 2011. As per his campaign promise back in 2007, then-candidate Greg Ballard informed the public that he would not run for re-election if he did not cut the budget by at least 10% by the third year (not including public safety). A quick comparison of the 2008 budget with the just-passed 2011 budget finds no such budget cut.Thanks for reminding us of that big promise, Tim. I had forgotten about that one. There have been so many broken promises, it's hard to keep track of all of them.
"I am very surprised that Ballard decided against honoring his campaign promise not to run again if he wasn’t able to cut the budget by 10%," stated Timothy Maguire, LPMC Chairman, "especially since the budget cuts necessary would have been so easy to make. Even without the benefit of a full time team of lawyers and accountants, we were able to find at least $65 million that could have been cut off the top of the 2011 budget."
"When I ran as part of the 2007 GOP campaign team," commented At-Large City-County Councillor Ed Coleman (L), "it was because I and other small government advocates believed Greg Ballard's promise to reform government and reduce the spending. It was broken promises like this that prompted me to abandon the failed Republican Party and its bloated-government policies. I urge Indianapolis citizens to join with me in supporting candidates from the Libertarian Party, the only party left that still advocates smaller government, less spending and lower taxes."
"Our only regret is that the Mayor decided that the government budget was more important that taxpayer's pocketbooks, or his own campaign promises," said Maguire. "Many of us were hopeful that the Republicans were serious this time about the small government policies they usually just pay lip service to. Alas, this just proves once again that there will be only one party of the ballot this year speaking for the voice of the people: the Libertarian Party."
The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States, and is the only non-major party with ballot access in the state of Indiana. Libertarians believe in a small non-intrusive government that is financially responsible, administratively competent and socially tolerant.