In his annual State of the City address, Ballard also focused on street-level efforts that he sees as crucial to Indianapolis’ vibrancy: improving the quality of education, expanding mass transit and driving panhandlers off Downtown streets . . .
Meanwhile, a budding Ballard-backed plan to add 30,000 seats in quality public and charter schools across Indianapolis over 10 years hasn’t yet gotten off the ground, and a Ballard-supported mass transit bill still faces a potentially tough road through the Indiana Senate.
But if anything, Ballard was full of confidence Friday, and he drew upon his speech’s setting — inside the new hotel in a large city-supported development called CityWay, along South Street — for inspiration . . .
One poignant moment came mid-speech as Ballard touched on that topic. He recounted cooperation between the community and public safety agencies following last month’s ambulance crash Downtown, which killed EMT Tim McCormick and paramedic Cody Medley, and after November’s neighborhood-rocking explosion of a house in the Southeastside’s Richmond Hill neighborhood.
Ballard maintained a calm-but-confident tone for most of the speech and seemed most comfortable as the city’s chief cheerleader. His sixth State of the City address came in under 30 minutes.
When his voice became hoarse, Ballard paused for a moment, reaching for a bottle of water. He joked about having a Marco Rubio moment, referring to the Republican U.S. senator from Florida who awkwardly paused his nationally televised State of the Union rebuttal last month to reach for water.
The crowd laughed approvingly . . .
Ballard wants to stop what he calls "rackets" by banning panhandling downtown in the mile square and limiting it from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily everywhere else, instead of dawn to dusk.Uh, sorry to bust your bubble, Greg, but a racket is what you do every day as Mayor of this city. That's the engagement in illegal activity to extort money from people or otherwise engage in illegal schemes. You know, like how you shake down city contractors for campaign contributions and freebies for yourself and your family and then shovel hundreds of millions of our taxpayer dollars into their pockets. Or how you have the city fire department to send out letters to a select group of business owners and demand that they self-inspect their own premises for compliance with state fire safety codes and pay a tribute to your racket, or you will send out an inspector who will charge them an even heftier fee for the inconvenience of doing what your fire department has been statutorily obligated to do since its creation. All in all, I would rather deal with the mob than your corrupt administration. At least the mob has an honor code, which is more than I can say about you. It's unfortunate that we don't have a prosecutor like the ones they have in Chicago who put corrupt politicians like you behind bars where you belong.