Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Osili On TIF Vote: "I Ain't Got A Nickel In That Dime"

Councilors Vop Osili and Joe Simpson went on Amos Brown's WTLC radio talk show this afternoon to defend their votes in favor of the downtown mafia's massive extension of TIF districts that is designed to bankrupt IPS and put the squeeze on limited tax revenues that fund basic city services in order to divert tens of millions of new dollars into the hands of private developers who have bankrolled the politicians, including Osili and Simpson. Osili opened by saying, "I ain't got a nickel in that dime," in response to questions about whether he will financially benefit himself from the deal he cut with the Ballard administration. Is that deja vu or what? Yep, those were the exact same words the late U.S. Rep. Julia Carson used when she came under fire for a plan by her protege', former Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer, to put a bar in the Julia Carson Government Center, a planned hatched in secrecy that included well-heeled insiders like Lacy Johnson, Bill Mays and Monroe Gray as investors.

Osili and Simpson fed Amos and his audience a load of crap about how this TIF expansion is going to help the poorest of blacks and the chronically unemployed. If you believe that, then I've got a bridge up in Brooklyn that I will sell you. None of those people will benefit one iota. They've never benefited from the more than $100 million annually the current TIF districts are consuming that would have otherwise been available to fund public safety, schools, libraries and public transportation, and they won't under this plan. If your idea of helping your community is to put more money into a minority businessman who is already driving around in a Bentley, then this is the plan for you. Don't believe me? Just look at where all the money has gone to date. It goes directly into the pockets of the wealthiest, most politically-connected people in the community who could have gone down to a bank and borrowed the money if they wanted to undertake one of these projects. TIF districts were never intended to be used to redevelop areas that would have been redeveloped or developed in the normal course of events; they were intended to be used in severely blighted areas with high rates of unemployment. Indianapolis has never targeted the use of TIFs in this manner, and the areas proposed to be expanded now include already developed or booming areas of downtown, or areas on the fringes of downtown that can be easily redeveloped because of the already-developed neighborhoods they adjoin. And they certainly were never intended to give multi-million dollar public subsidies to multi-millionaire developers. Only a fool would buy any of the crap that Osili and Simpson spewed on the air this afternoon. If you have the stomach for it, click here to listen to it.

At the very tail end of the audio, you will hear Osili state that Monday night's meeting satisfied the public notice requirement provided by law. What he didn't tell you is that the agenda made no mention of the TIF proposals being heard so that members of the public were put on notice that the resolutions would be heard and have an opportunity to ask questions and comment on them. The remaining council members, including Osili and Simpson, took up the matter after the committee's chairman, Steve Talley, had gaveled the meeting adjourned and left the room. After the video went off on WCTY for the folks watching at home, Osili and company carried out their dirty deed. That was intentional, and he knows it. Osili, Simpson and all of the other councilors who participated in Monday night's charade should be holding their heads in shame for the disregard they've shown to the public in being heard on this critical issue. In a few weeks, they're going to be deciding how much to cut the police and fire department budgets, city parks, and other agencies providing basic services. The record will show that they chose to line the pockets of those most able to take care of themselves at a time when those with so little who need the help most are left standing in the cold.


Mary Roger Bowser said...

If the meeting was gaveled closed, how could any public business be conducted, LEGALLY?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Technically, you're suppose to have a motion and second to adjourn approved by the majority to adjourn. I've seen committee meetings gaveled adjourned without formality and without objection. Osili had decided he was going to spring this on Talley before he adjourned, knowing that Talley had left it off the hearing agenda because he did not plan to hear it at the meeting. Talley beat Osili to the punch, and then Mary Adams, who between her and her husband are drawing three paychecks from the city-county government, seconded his motion to hear his resolution after Talley had already left the committee room.

Paul K. Ogden said...

It's a silly defense by Osili that he doesn't have a financial interest in this particular project. We know how developers trade off on projects and how they support each other when it becomes their time to get a publicly subsidized project.
Taking turns feeding at the public trough doesn't mean you're not next in line to get your turn.

I didn't know Vop Osili much until he got to the Council and what I've seen thus far he is far from impressive.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Osili boasted that he was able to get the Ballard administration to agree to provide $2 million for a microloan program for small businesses and another $1.5 million for job training. First of all, how many businesses could possibly benefit from a loan program that small? The only people who would apply for these loans are people who aren't credit worthy, have no intention of repaying the loans, probably won't even use the money for the intended purpose and will simply walk away without repaying a dime or creating a single job. On the job training, the federal and state government are already spending a fortune on job training through the Dept. of Workforce Development, Ivy Tech, etc. How does he possibly believe that you can set up a small independent program that would have any meaningful impact. Again, it's just going to be money pissed away on somebody that's gaming the system to get ahold of government grant dollars to spend on some useless program. He says he got another $10 million set aside for affordable housing. Hell, these CDCs have money falling out of their asses to spend on affordable housing programs. The guy is clueless when it comes to economics. He only knows how to game government to force you and I to fund programs that may guys like him rich.

artfuggins said...

Adams and Osili should be ashamed and if Maggie Lewis as president of the council does not address the issue with them privately or publicly then she is powerless for the remainder of their terms. I hope she has the strength to do it but I am afraid that she will surrender to the big money interests.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Maggie Lewis and her husband are both dependent on the downtown mafia for their jobs. She's powerless to act independently. They will crush her like a bug if she crosses them.