Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Board Of Public Works Approves $6 Million Theft Of City Assets For Blue Indy
BOARD CHAIRMAN WOULD NOT ALLOW PUBLIC TESTIMONY
The string of law-breaking to benefit the French-owned company Bollore and its Blue Indy electric car sharing business continues unabated. With virtually no public notice, the Board of Public Works controlled by useless stooges of Mayor Greg Ballard added as its last agenda item on today's board meeting approval of the use of $6 million from the parking meter fund for the private company's monopoly car sharing business. With very little debate and a refusal by Board Chairman Andy Lutz to allow for any public comment on the agenda item when it was called for a vote after I requested it, the board quickly approved the item and adjourned the meeting with only the council's appointee to the board voting no.
The City-County Council's CFO, Bart Brown, who did not learn of the planned vote until late yesterday, appeared to testify at the request of the council's appointee to the board and took issue with Chairman Andy Lutz' contention that no City-County Council approval is required for today's action. Brown insisted that the Department of Public Works' 2015 budget contains no authorization to spend public dollars from the parking meter fund or any other city fund this year, a contention Lutz flatly dismissed. As a result of today's action, the Department plans to unilaterally authorize the transfer of $6 million to an escrow fund at Regions Bank where it is expected to be spent to help pay for the 50 public charging station sites Blue Indy plans to complete work on around the city before year's end.
Not a single City-County Council member or other member of the public besides myself was present and ready to testify in opposition to the blatantly illegal, 15-year contract the Ballard administration entered into with Blue Indy, which grants the company a right to operate a monopoly business on City-owned property without paying a dime for the use of that publicly-owned property. The administration relied on the granting of dozens of encroachment licenses to allow the private company to seize hundreds of public parking spaces and right-of-ways for its exclusive business use in clear violation of the law. There was no public bidding process whatsoever, and the contract waives all fees and taxes that any other business operating within the City would have been required to pay. The administration's representative, David Rosenberg, said the City allowed IPL to handle the public bidding of all of the work on the installation of the charging stations and kiosks required for each site instead of publicly-bidding that work. Other companies interested in offering car sharing services were turned away by the Ballard administration, which refused to consider their proposals.
It is absolutely incredible how many civil and criminal laws the Ballard administration has been allowed to break to achieve the theft of tens of millions of dollars' worth of public assets. Mr. Rosenberg gave board members the impression the $6 million it approved today was the City's only investment. That's only true if you omit all of the forgiven fees and taxes, assign no value to the use of the City's public assets and ignore the loss of parking meter revenues the City will have to reimburse the private operator of those city assets to offset their revenue losses. That's to say nothing of the untold business losses that are and will continue to be occasioned by the displacement of the the City's most prime public parking spaces to accommodate the unwanted electric car charging stations and kiosks, which will primarily benefit out-of-town visitors to the City.