Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Joe Hogsett Finally Takes Position On Criminal Justice Center

Now that a stacked review board has recommended the Indianapolis City-County Council approved Mayor Greg Ballard's plan to enter into a 35-year, $1.75 billion public-private partnership agreement to build a new criminal justice center on a 4-1 vote, Democratic mayoral candidate Joe Hogsett has finally taken a position on the P3 proposal. He's against it.
As a former federal prosecutor, I wholeheartedly believe Indianapolis needs a new jail to replace the inefficient facilities we have today. But the very real prospect that the city will not have enough money to make annual payments to the project's private developer – at least in the early years of the decades-long deal – is troubling. And under no circumstances could I support a public project that puts Indianapolis taxpayers in jeopardy of experiencing a shortfall to pay for it. 
That's because it likely means Indianapolis would have to choose between raising new taxes to cover the shortfall or divert funds from the public safety tax the Council passed last year. That tax, of course, was meant to hire more police officers, not to subsidize a new criminal justice facility. I believe it is unacceptable to put the hiring of much-needed new officers on hold or raise yet another public safety tax to fund this project. 
I want to be clear that my unwillingness to endorse this particular proposal does not dampen my optimism that we can and should develop an appropriate facility financed in a more fiscally sound manner. 
To do that, I believe our city should engage in a robust examination of all available financing models, including more traditional, proven methods of funding public projects. Finally, a renewed process to develop a criminal justice center should be transparent from the beginning, engaging the Council, Marion County officials, and other stakeholders at the outset.
The slated Republican candidate, Chuck Brewer, returned from his Chicago residence to issue a position statement in support of it that David Brooks prepared for him.
I support the proposed criminal justice center. It is clearly an important project for Indianapolis and we cannot afford to continue kicking the can down the road. This project greatly increases efficiencies, which will result in overall cost savings, it will strengthen the process within the jail system and, importantly, it improves safety for the public in the City-County Building.
The current proposal will save taxpayers millions of dollars. It appears that my opponent is basing his position on a flawed report done by a firm that does not specialize in this type of financial analysis. I believe it's evident that the benefits outweigh the concerns but unfortunately, as is the case in too many issues, politics is getting in the way. I applaud Mayor Ballard and the bi-partisan team that includes Democrat Sheriff John Layton for their work to bring a positive solution to the table. Any last minute attempts to derail it without offering any real alternative is just the kind of politics that has delayed this important project for over twenty years already.”
Mayoral candidates Larry Vaughn (D) and Jocelyn Tandy-Adande (R) both spoke at the review board hearing in opposition to the proposal. Former City Controller, Kathy Davis, was the lone member of the review board to vote against it because of her concerns about the obvious budgetary shortfall during the first several years of the criminal justice center's operations. KPMG charged the city millions to prepare a phony financial statement claiming the new criminal justice center would actually cost less than what the City is now paying for its existing facilities. KPMG fees triple if the council approves the P3 approach it has recommended to the city for procuring the criminal justice center. Mayor Ballard wants the council to approve the project by April 20 so all of the bribes, payoffs and kickbacks promised can be doled out.

The Indianapolis Star finally got around to reporting a fact Advance Indiana reported last year that Indianapolis taxpayers are being forced to pay $1.5 million to the two losing bidding teams, which pretended to compete for the project to give the appearance of a competitively bid process that was in actuality anything but.

Private consortiums Indy Justice Partners and Plenary Edgemoor Justice Partners won’t build a criminal justice center in Indianapolis this year.
But Marion County taxpayers will still pay them $750,000 each, just for bidding on the project.
Some City-County Council members are outraged by the payments, which, combined with mounting consulting costs, will leave the county on the hook for millions even if the council rejects the proposal. The county has spent $5.5 million on consulting costs to date, with more bills on the way.
But administration officials for Mayor Greg Ballard and a government contracting expert contacted by The Indianapolis Star said paying bidders is simply the cost of doing business on a project of this magnitude. And, the administration argues, the council gave tacit approval to the expenses when it signed a memorandum of understanding to kick off the project in December 2013.
The hefty preliminary investment underscores the complexity of the 35-year, $1.75 billion project and the difficult political situation both sides now find themselves in with an April 20 vote looming.
With paid financial consultants on both sides providing different takes on the deal’s affordability, how can the general public hope to decide whether the deal is worthwhile or whether the opposition is rooted in politics? And, even if the council’s doubts are correct, would it still be a prudent use of tax dollars to walk away when so much has been spent already? . . . 


Anonymous said...

"And, even if the council’s doubts are correct, would it still be a prudent use of tax dollars to walk away when so much has been spent already? . . ."

What an idiotic thing to say. This idiot needs a punch in the face, Clarkson style.

The applicable aphorism, Idiot Writer, is "Don't throw good money after bad."

c. roger csee said...


Apparently, all that is important to them now is that they any cost to the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Our hardly-to-be-esteemed Democrat and Republican City Councilors- and that inept buffoon we call Mayor- prove again they are more than happy to perpetuate their brutal financial rape of their constituents who will pay for this filthy deal- and many of those constituents have not yet been born.

And why cannot political tool Chuckie Brewer- he of multiple residences and income sources- explain his own philosophy rather than rely on his BFF political hack attorney David Brooks explain things for him? Brooks's involvement is enough for this AI reader to know the deal reeks to high heaven as a money-making scheme extraordinaire with insider interests yet to be, or never to be, disclosed.

And c. roger csee nails it too that the RINO Republican (and career leech Democrats as well) in Indianapolis are fully over the edge. Anyone who knows the local and statewide political system and scene understands that to crooks like David Brooks winning is all that matters...winning at any cost.

Why Marion County Republicans continue to bend over for a guy who has hurt their Party so much in terms of decreased odds of future campaign wins is itself a story.