Friday, September 06, 2013

Ballard Answers Star Readers' Questions, Proves He's Still Stuck On Stupid

The Indianapolis Star's Jon Murray got the opportunity to sit down with Mayor Greg Ballard to get answers to questions on the minds of some Star readers as he prepares to head out of the country on yet another 12-day junket overseas to Europe later this month, right in the middle of the toughest budget debate of his two terms in office. True to form, Ballard became very testy and defensive in answering most of the questions put to him--questions the media have failed to ask him for the most part. Reading his responses, you have to wonder how this guy ever got elected to office once, let alone re-elected. It certainly doesn't reflect well on the Indianapolis electorate.

The first reader wondered why the city was spending $6 million on a new park for cricket when it can't afford to pay police and firemen. Ballard: "Oh really. Are we still there? It’s one-time infrastructure money that hopefully will produce revenue for the city, and the other is an ongoing expense that has to come from revenue for the city. It’s apples and oranges completely. Tell me again, why is it wrong to put playing fields on a park? That’s what we’re doing, and out of one-time money." Maybe the reader is concerned that we're not taking care of the parks we already have, or that you complain that the city has other pressing storm water fixes that you propose to be paid from higher fees instead of using proceeds from the sale of the water and sewer utilities.

Another reader says the expenditure on the new cricket park raises a question about his priorities. Ballard: "No, it’s not a valid (question). Do you want me to shut down the park system? I mean, that’s kind of what they’re saying here, right? “We don’t want parks. Everything has to go to this other thing.” Of course we want parks, and we will continue to develop parks. But when we have one-time money from this (RebuildIndy) fund, we have to use it for capital projects." So where does Ballard come up with the idea that anyone is saying to shut down the park system? This is the game that he plays on every issue on which he is opposed. He always sets up a false choice as a bogey man.

A reader asks why Ballard is cutting city services and raising taxes while supporting tens of millions more in subsidies to the Pacers. Ballard:  "It’s different money. Nobody wants to admit this, but the fact is that the Colts don’t run Lucas Oil Stadium. The Pacers do run Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the Pacers paid for the running of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, on their dime, for 10 years. Show me another city in the nation where that was true." Umm, I hate to burst your bubble, Greg, but every objective observer agrees that Indianapolis has been more generous in its deals with its sports teams than any other city in the country. Lucas Oil Stadium ranks as the most one-sided stadium deal in NFL history. Check your facts, Greg, before discussing things you know nothing about.

Another reader wants to know when Ballard plans to stop traveling the world with his wife and start paying attention to the problems here. Ballard: "Oh, you mean the over half a billion dollars of RebuildIndy money that we’ve put into the city of Indianapolis? Or the murder rate being below 100 for the last three years? The crime rate being down again this year? I mean, all the building, all the economic development that’s been going on in the city — it’s been very strong. This is a global economy. You’re going to live by it or you’re going to die by it — take your pick." There he goes with those false choices again. It's a global economy and we're going to die if he doesn't take his ninth overseas junkets, none of which have produced any tangible results. Our murder rate is down? Our crime rate is down? Really?

Murray presses Ballard to explain the tangible benefits of his overseas junkets. Ballard: "This is about talent attraction. I just heard second-hand that one of the largest companies in town here no longer has any problems attracting people to Indianapolis. They haven’t been able to say that in a long time. That’s a big statement in and of itself." I see. Because you and Winnie make such an impression on your overseas junkets, local companies don't have a problem finding good talent in the worst economic times since the Great Depression. Yep, that makes a lot of sense to me. Murray is still struggling to see the connection and presses Ballard further. Ballard: "It’s all part of a package. We have the best sister city program in the nation, as delineated by Sister City International. Getting the name of Indianapolis out around the world is so important because we have to say that we are the kind of city that welcomes everybody from around the world. It’s not one thing in particular. But do you think that BollorĂ©, the electric car-sharing program (in France), would have come here if I wasn’t doing what I was doing? Absolutely not, they wouldn’t have been here at all. The larger companies in our city are very thankful that I’m trying to spread the world, especially in the larger countries where, frankly, we had no presence (including Brazil, India and China)." Wow. This guy is more delusional than I thought.

One reader complains about the lack of sidewalks in many neighborhoods. Ballard: "I know it's dangerous. That's why I'm trying to get more sidewalks. Talk to the council." Ballard's plan to build more sidewalks is to borrow against future transportation dollars from the state that may or may not continue. Yet another bright idea.


Unigov said...


"We have the best sister city program in the nation" - iirc, Indy does not have a sister city in Africa, though one-fourth of our residents trace their ancestry there. The sister city program's only purpose is to justify junkets.

Anonymous said...

I think Ballard is always shocked to hear legitimate criticism from reasonable people as he's completely surrounded himself with 'yes' people. Take for example the administrator he chose to head up constituent services. She was clerk of the courts for a number of years and mismanaged the courts as clerk to the point that after she left,the county had to go back and use a debt collection company to collect fees that for some reason went uncollected. The uncollected fees amounted to something like 6 million dollars. Completely reckless and negligent. She was careful, however, to leave the clerk's office with a job lined up with a local company from whom the courts had purchased several hundred thousand dollars worth of voting equipment. A few years back the star did a story about how the Mayor's action center demonstrably ignored requests from poor neighborhoods, all the while giving same day issue resolution to requests from residents in wealthier neighborhoods. Who runs this call center ? This same lady...and she still does today.

This woman is charged with being the go between between the public and the mayor, and she is the perfect earpiece for a mayor that couldn't care any less about listening to the people.

Indianapolis Observer said...

I'm with UNIGOV on this.

The IU Med School (and others) lobbied strenuously to add Eldoret, Kenya, to the Sister City roster due to our strong ties of long standing to Moi University and others in that East African city.

Ballard said "no economic advantage" and deep-sixed the proposal.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like we elected Obama as our mayor, and not just our President...

Anonymous said...

I wonder if candidate Greg Ballard would even recognize 2nd term mayor Greg Ballard. What an unbelievable ego and lack of accountability. I voted for him the first time he ran. Let a "non-politician" have a chance I thought. Let's see what Mr. Everyman, a veteran, someone I can relate to can do. Either he snowed me from the beginning or the position as corrupted him. I'm sorely disappointed in seeing that what he did what that chance is to engage in "more of the same" that we got with career politicians.

Indy Parks closed pools and opened "splash parks" to save money, but now we need $6 million dollars to go to a complex for a sport that almost no one in the US plays? I'm guessing that more children would like to swim, a fun and healthy activity that requires no equipment on the participant's part, than play cricket.

Ah, that's "one time money". I took a few economics and accounting courses while at university. I understand one time vs ongoing expenses. I also understand that if I inherit money from Aunt Mildred and I need to pay the light bill, I don't buy a new bass boat because the bass boat is a one time expense but the electric bill just keeps coming. You pay for necessities first, regardless of the source of the funds.