Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What's A Public Nuisance?

Mayor Greg Ballard's administration proudly boasted yesterday of its efforts to close a small motel, a Traveler's Inn, which it says is a public nuisance because of numerous police runs to the business over the last several years. Many people live at the small motel because it is the only place they can afford to live with record high unemployment rates and the worst economic downturn in the nation's history since the Great Depression. As reported by Fox 59 News:

"We're all here for a different reason," said Kelli Benner, who has been living at the Traveler's Inn for more than a year. "Some because they can't get places but most it seems to be drugs."
Despite her concern about safety, Benner says she couldn't find any other affordable housing options for her and her kids. Now she says she may be forced to find someplace else or seek help from a shelter.
"Number one goal is to shut it down," said City Attorney Helen Marchal.
Marchal says that goal has come because from July 2008 through July 2011 there have been 114 violations of health and hospital code, and more than 12 hundred police calls involving more than 22 hundred officers. Marchal estimates the policing alone has cost the city between $200-250,000.
Reuse America, bought the Inn last fall with the goal of turning things around, but the Marchal says time is up.
"Nothing's changed and there comes a point when you realize that asking somebody to make a difference just isn't going to work and you have to take them to court," Marchal said.

Contrast the City's treatment of this small motel with the annual Black Expo Summer Celebration event downtown that requires the deployment of the City's entire police force within the Downtown area to combat the shootings and mayhem that accompany the event every year. Ten teens were shot at last year's expo. Shootings, rapes, assaults, drugs, prostitution, public intoxication, etc. have been associated with  the event every year. Downtown businesses don't even want to be open during the event because their employees call in sick to avoid working, and those who do show up for work have to deal with unruly teen-agers who scare away paying customers. For this event, taxpayers are not only required to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for the extra policing, hundreds of thousands of your taxpayers dollars are actually given to the organization to bring this mayhem to our Downtown every summer.

Mayor Greg Ballard, Indiana Black Expo, Metro Police and 10-Point Coalition officials will announce Tuesday morning their plans for keeping a lid on the kind of downtown violence that has marred recent Summer Celebration weekends.
In 2010, on the last full night of Indiana Black Expo, ten people were wounded in gang-related shootings, casting Indianapolis into the national spotlight just when the city was preparing to host the 2012 Super Bowl. 
“We just want to make sure we stay ahead of this thing,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Mike Bates, the commander in charge of more than 300 officers who will report for duty Friday and Saturday nights.

IMPD  has cancelled days off for every officer in the department, detailing forces to either their regular shifts at the district level or assigning them downtown.

In the wake of last summer’s shootings, Public Safety Director Frank Straub suggested that safe zones and metal detectors would be part of this year’s security plan. They are not. However, officers will enforce curfew restrictions for teenagers found wandering downtown streets after 11 p.m.
Talk to any downtown business owner any they will agree that Black Expo's Summer Celebration weekend activities create a public nuisance that actually harms the reputation of Downtown Indianapolis. Hotel operators actually tell people who call up from out of town who are making travel arrangements to the City to think about a different travel time because they've all experienced out-of-town visitors being shocked and disappointed by what they encountered during the second weekend of this event. Restaurant workers don't want to work because they can't earn tips and most of the customers they have are rude and unruly. Shop owners experience a rash of shoplifting and vandalism to their property. What does the City do to business owners who wish to close down during the event? It threatens them with legal action? I'm not kidding. Someone needs to ask the Ballard administration to rethink what it considers a public nuisance. And it's just not the general public doing the complaining. Many IMPD officers are less than happy with the way the administration is handling this event.


Cato said...

A "public nuisance" is something which impedes the flow of commerce to preferred parties.

The cops have so ingrained themselves into the normal intercourse of Americans that they have beaten out of us and criminalized any ability to exercise self-help. The cops, therefore, have a guaranteed "market," as people have no other recourse for dispute services but the government.

The government then uses its own monopolization of social interaction as a way to gain yet further control.

While we're distracted by Obama and the nonsense of the distinction between the two parties, this arm of government is consolidating total power.

Southsider said...

IMPD has cancelled all days off for this event... a lot of overtime. Is the City going to send IBE an invoice for this? Already know the answer, but the should>

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Goggle info on Black Expo. Here is 5 minutes worth of research:

Bay Area 2 days
Ohio Black Expo 4 days
Hampton, Virginia 3 days
Charleston, S.C. 2 days
Columbia, S.C. 3 days
Upstate, S.C. 2 days
Jacksonville, FL 3 days
This is how other cities fight this crap. Instead of kow-towing, kissing ass, and spending another boatload of tax dollars that we don't have.
I guess this is what happens when you are ingrained from birth with the idea of "entitlement."

Indy4u2c said...

The Indiana Constitution Article 1 states that governments in Indiana are instituted for the peace, safety and well-being of the people of Indiana.

How can a public safety director allow an Indiana municipal government to allow Indiana Black Expo to continue, year after year, to be the catalyst for an incomparable alchemy that results in mayhem, tremendous police and emergency resources, property damage and multiple trauma center admissions (paid for by taxpayers as welfare)?

This New Yorker obviously is out of touch with Central Indiana values. We do NOT support or want anarchy. So why does Frank Straub allow Black Expo to continue to be a catalyst for violence?

Public nuisance is a truly fitting and proper action against Black Expo. Proper action should be filed for the harm done to our city's reputation, name, image as well as recovery of all costs for police, fire, and EMS, welfare costs to pay for the trauma center treatment the victims of the violence incur, and all costs paid by TAXPAYERS.

The results are predictable and recur every year because the public safety director lacks moral courage to do the right thing. He MUST be fired! He is not doing the job; instead, he is trying to make Indianapolis become "West New York."

Every year Expo releases the same old statement — that it’s "saddened by the reported incidents and that they were isolated from Expo events." I wonder if that silly release wasn’t used on the first Black Expo.

It’s the same year after year. I’m tired of hearing it.

The City must uphold the Constitution of the State of Indiana and do what has to be done.

Indianapolis For Sale said...

Gary et al,

I am a daily reader of this blog and have only recently decided to begin commenting upon what I read. I enjoy the level of detail, source material and access to information not typically found in local mainstream media. Kudos for providing an alternative source for news.

After many months of struggling with items I have read I must call you on the mat for what comes off as a pervasive, fear-mongering tone about minorities. I cannot recall anything positive that you have said about black people, Latinos, President Obama or any person who is not a conservative, white, christian citizen of this country. I feel you are irresponsible and narrow-minded in these blog entries which tend to come off more like Michelle Bachmann-inspired rants.

I take particular issue with today's post. I cannot fault you for the facts about IBE's Summer Celebration. Yes, facts are facts. But the manner in which you hold these issues up as IBE-only problems is irresponsible. Unfortunately, shootings, rapes, assaults, drugs, prostitution, public intoxication, shoplifting, rude behavior and bad tipping take place every day in Indianapolis and most likely spike during big events such as Indy 500, Brickyard 400, NCAA Final Four, Gay Pride and Circle City Classic. I shudder to think about the crime wave that will be brought upon us by the influx of 100,000 plus visitors during the 2012 Superbowl.

Yes, these illegal activities increase during Summer Celebration and, yes, there is a hard cost for the security required at the event. I feel a closer look at cause is warranted instead of immediately pointing fingers at black people and demanding that the event be canceled. This event draws tens of thousands of well-intentioned visitors to our city who come to enjoy a peaceful visit. These visitors come for social events, educational seminars and worship services. They do not spends millions of dollars on lodging, food, shopping and transportation in order to visit Indianapolis to run the streets firing pistols, raping women and defacing property.

I have no facts to back up my opinion but I believe the majority of the troublemakers at IBE and any other big event are residents of Marion County. If my opinion is fact then it says very sad things about the care given in raising the children of Indianapolis. Where were the parents, religious leaders, educators, civic leaders and mentors when these young people to make certain they know right from wrong? Ultimately, who is to blame? Past leaders of IPS? Mayor Lugar? Mayor Hudnut? Mayor Goldsmith? Mayor Peterson? Mayor Ballard? Everyone is to blame.

It has taken multiple generations of irresponsible leadership in all aspects of a child's life to end up with a young society that finds marauding down Illinois Street with a gun to be an acceptable form of entertainment. Standing on a soapbox and pointing a finger at any one group is equally irresponsible.

We are all to blame for this situation and we all need to work to set a new course. Otherwise, we will never be able to hire enough police, educate enough lawyers or build enough prisons to control the result.

Gary, please stick to the credo displayed in the masthead of your blog. Continue doing what what you do best which is uncovering the other side of the political story. Do your part to keep the leaders and non-leader citizens of Indianapolis honest. Our common goal should be building a greater city not tearing it apart limb for limb.

Advance Indiana said...

You couldn't be more wrong in your conclusions, IFS. We have reached a point in this country where PC commands that anybody who says anything critical of a person of color must be branded as a racist. I criticize people of my own party and my own race 10 times as often as I criticize a minority but that's okay with people like you. IBE is not about advancing black people at all. It's become a business run by self-appointed leaders that employ dozens of people in make-work jobs and sucks up lots of public dollars for this annual event that has become a major blemish on this city. What about the controversial car show that got kicked out of town that drew lots of out-of-town visitors? Some people thought it was certain downtown elites showing their uppity ways towards people they viewed as a bunch of rednecks. People complained it was drawing undesirable people and their cars were making too much noise so they booted them out of town. The other special events you reference don't entail anything approaching the magnitude of the problems associated with this annual event, and they are events that draw larger crowds and more revenues to the city. The fact is that special rights and privileges are being doled out to this group with a highly questionable mission at a high cost to the rest of the citizens of this city. Those of us who enjoy our Downtown are effectively kicked out during this event because the unruly crowds are so unwelcoming and taunting to anyone who is not a person of color. It's time someone spoke truthfully. I'm only echoing the sentiments anyone who has his or her ears open feels about this event.

Indy4u2c said...

Indpls 4 Sale:

Please get a clue! First point: Gary is ON THE MONEY! His posts are supported by fact.

I take issue with your ignorance. I have lived her over 30 years. I have first hand knowledge. The facts are: IBE IS RESPONSIBLE for the riots, mayhem, anarchy, or whatever you call it. It only happens in conjuction with their events. Your comment shows your ignorance.

The problems are exclusive to IBE! Don't give us "they happen everywhere" lie!!!

They don't happen in this proportion any time, only during Expo! To call it "rude behavior" is a complete minimization of the facts.

As for "security" cost, the CITY should NOT PAY FOR BLACK EXPO!!!! IBE costs us taxPAYERs far too much. Those who benefit are NOT taxPAYERS!.

"INDPLS for sale" please learn before you post statements based on imagination.

Indianapolis For Sale said...

Gary and Indy4u2c,

Thank you for helping to validate several of my comments. Please take a moment to wipe the spray of venom from the screen of your computer monitor.

I have lived in downtown Indianapolis for nearly 30 years. I walk among the crowds day and night during IBE. I've been within eyeshot of the shootings. I've worked during the events. I know what I'm talking about.

I also attend the Indy 500, NCAA events and so on. Drugs, prostitution, illegal gambling, violence and all the other filth come with those events. Many of these events effectively kick out the 24/7 resident of downtown Indianapolis.

To claim that IBE is responsible for violence is laughable. Does IBE pass out guns? Do they give teenagers their marching orders for the evening? Nope.

Is the civic and private sector of Indianapolis bending over for the wishes of the NFL any different than allowing the "self-appointed" leadership of IBE being allowed to run their own event? Is paying a relatively small amount for policing at these events any more of a handout than the tremendous cost of crappy sidewalk and paving repairs being doled out to Ballard contributors?

You both missed the point of my post: These problems are the end result of decades of bad education, policing and governing in Indianapolis. This will be a much greater, long lasting blemish on our community than a week long event in July.