My apologies for being crabby this early in the New Year, but this might be a good time to ask what kind of city this one wants to be. It might be a good time to ask why a city that can host a Super Bowl can't overcome a bargain-basement mentality that leads to a decision not to sprinkle salt on many side streets . . .
It's time to demand more. But instead of complaining, we seem to cheer the city for doing a job that wasn't completed. We are amazed -- as, admittedly, I was last week -- that most side streets get the quick attention of a snow plow after a big storm, even if that plow leaves behind a thick sheet of ice and packed snow, which turns into an ice rink without salt . . .
In many cities, the ice left behind would be a political scandal. But here, defenders argue that a road not cleared is valuable money saved, a worthy tradeoff in a tax-averse region. To those, I suggest reading up on the city's decision to once again write the Pacers a check for $10 million. Or to give huge pay raises to top officials in the mayor's office. Or to upgrade the convention center.Apparently Tully has never attended a neighborhood association meeting since he's lived in Indianapolis. If he had, he would have learned that side streets in Indianapolis get cleared when it snows because neighborhood associations collect voluntary dues from their residents and hire private contractors to plow them. The City does not plow side streets. Why would he think it would lay salt down on those same streets to melt the ice? I live in a neighborhood right downtown and we've hired a private contractor during the 18 years I've lived there. Just last weekend we received this e-mail from our neighborhood association president regarding the need to replace the private contractor who wasn't doing his job:
We had a contract with a snow plowing company that did not follow through with their commitments. After much follow up from Rolando, they did a half way and poor job in the middle of the night.
Rolando fired them Saturday morning and got another company that hopefully will now do a nice job.
Rolando indicated that we will be using the new company that is more reliable from now on.
We want to thank Rolando for all the time and effort he has voluntarily put into this.
Have a Happy New Year.
Yes, we thank Rolando for taking care of hiring a responsible private contractor to plow the streets in our neighborhood with the voluntary dues we pay annually to our neighborhood association, not the City of Indianapolis, Matt. The mandatory tax dollars we pay to the City go for more important endeavors like subsidizing billionaire Herb Simon's Indiana Pacers and building new parking garages and subsidizing real estate development projects for the Mayor's campaign contributors. To pay for basic services like plowing and salting streets when it snows, Tully suggests we raise our taxes yet again. "So find it -- yes, even if that means telling those of us who live here that we will have to chip in a little more," he writes. This from the same columnist who just chastised Councilor Brian Mahern a couple of weeks back for his efforts to rein in the expansion of TIF districts the City keeps expanding and creating to divert more of our property tax revenues into slush funds that the Mayor, in turn, dispenses to finance the private development projects of those who bankroll his campaign committee. Imagine.