Monday, August 17, 2015

Council Sells Out Public To Placate Blue Indy And . . . .

So a French-owned company comes into town, realizes what a corrupt fool we have for a mayor and gets him to enter into a 15-year agreement that permits the company to operate a monopoly, electric car sharing business on hundreds of prime public parking spaces at an expense of tens of millions of dollars to Indianapolis taxpayers. On top of the massive investment of our public tax dollars into Blue Indy's car sharing business, we learn our mayor also agreed to exempt the company from all fees and taxes that would otherwise apply to any other business that operates in this city, again in violation of the law.

After the Indianapolis City-County Council's attorney explained to the Public Works Committee how many laws were broken to award this monopoly business to Blue Indy, the council could only muster the fortitude to seek a resolution urging the towing of Blue Indy cars parked in public parking spaces in violation of city ordinances until such time the company enters into a franchise agreement the mayor and the company insists it had no obligation to do. At tonight's council meeting, the resolution's sponsor, Zach Adamson, asked and received permission of the council to postpone consideration of the resolution because the company reached out and offered to discuss entering into a franchise agreement. Disappointingly, the council voted 28-1 to postpone action. Only Councilor Monroe Gray (D) objected, insisting the council should make it clear that the company is getting the boot because laws were not followed.

I don't care what these council members say to the public about how upset they are about the process not being followed. It means nothing at the end of the day. These aren't just civil law violations we're talking about. Multiple criminal laws were broken by the mayor and key members of his administration to award this one-sided monopoly business to Blue Indy at a loss of tens of millions of dollars to Indianapolis taxpayers. We still don't have any idea who all owns a beneficial interest in this company, although we have a pretty good idea. If these council members gave a damn about the constituents they profess to represent, they would be marching over to the prosecutor's office and demanding a criminal investigation, in addition to going to court to nullify this illegal deal.

The council went to court months ago to nullify the illegal, $32 million, 7-year lease agreement the mayor and members of his administration entered into with Vision Fleet to lease electric and hybrid cars that have posed all kinds of problems for public safety employees who find them totally unsuited for the jobs they are asked to perform. Not a damn thing has happened since that lawsuit was filed. If the council was serious about its lawsuit, it would have gotten an emergency hearing on the matter. It's all a big game just to make the public think it's serious about these matters. What's really going on is that folks are just using these maneuverings to get their piece of the action. This is what happens when we get self-serving public officials running our government who could care less about what's in the public's interest. It's all about what I can get for myself, my family and my big campaign contributors. The hell with everyone else.


Anonymous said...

Well I know at least one phony council member who won't let this opportunity go to waste when he still has more home improvements, vacations and new clothing on his shopping list.

Anonymous said...

Smokin Joe is telling us in his campaign ads how he's going to stop these downtown insiders from stealing from us if he's elected mayor. My question for him is why he didn't prosecute any of the crooks stealing from us when he was a federal prosecutor and could do something about it?

Gary R. Welsh said...

My thoughts exactly, anon. 8:41. I made that same comment to someone else today.

Flogger said...

Smoking Joe Hog$ett has been very closed mouth on this deal. Perhaps we can make a movie about Hog$ett's lack of prosecutions for white collar political corruption and his silence on this Blue Indy issue. We can call it "Silence of the Joe".

Gary R. Welsh said...

Joe's law firm's office is on the 28th floor of the Chase Tower. Blue Indy, Vision Fleet, ESN, CICP, Techpoint and a incestuous mix of other for-profit and non-profit companies are all located on the 18th floor of the Chase Tower. Joe's law firm is tied in with some of these folks so he can't and won't say a damn thing. Chuck Brewer is for whatever Ballard supports so it's a waste of time to engage that empty suit on any issue.

Greg Wright said...

How did Ms. Scales vote?

Gary R. Welsh said...

She voted to postpone it, Greg. As I said in the post, only Monroe Gray voted against postponing the vote.

Anonymous said...

Well isn't liberal Democrat Zach Adamson a real piece of work? What a phony, two faced guy this career liberal proved pro-corporatist corrupt chit this weasel showed himself to be.

Why the hell do we have a Council? Why the hell do we have Democrat Maggie Smith? Why the hell does our USELESS Council have an Attorney to explain a gazillion times the laws broken when the morons in those council seats intentionally do not receive the message?

Why the hell do we little people obey laws when the completely corrupt Republican mayor is lawless as hell? And why do we obey laws when the damned Councilors like Democrap Adamson won't do anything "real" to stop a corrupt mayor? It's all smoke and mirrors and pony shows for municipal economics-and-legal-illiterates like Democrap Zach Adamson and his council pals.

Downtown is now turned into a mess and both the Democrat Council AND the Marion County GOP are the destructors. Oh hell, why do I even care any more? More importantly, WHY DO I FOLLOW LAWS WHEN NO ONE IN GOVERNMENT WILL FOLLOW OR ENFORCE THEM???

Anonymous said...

If the City-County Council, with the exception of Monroe Gray, chooses to ignore a VOID Contract executed in violation of the law, maybe they might be concerned with unproven technology...

Vincent Bolloré’s LONG BET on Solid-­State Batteries for [BlueIndy]Electric Cars
The New York Times June 12, 2015

Mr. Bolloré made his personal fortune, estimated at $7.3 billion, mainly through his family­-owned industrial conglomerate, the Bolloré Group, one of whose companies designed and produces the batteries that power his rental vehicles. His bigger aim —- and possibly even more quixotic quest —- is to demonstrate that those batteries can compete with rival products made by industry giants like Panasonic and LG Chem, and to persuade other carmakers to adopt them for their own fleets of clean-­energy vehicles.
Bolloré Group’s electrical storage devices are known as lithium metal polymer batteries. ... “They definitely have an interesting technology,” Yasmina Barin, an analyst at the Swiss bank SYZ, said of Mr. Bollore’s company. “The question is whether this technology is massively superior to the ones on the market. That is NOT determined yet.” …
So far, the Bolloré company behind the electric vehicles and batteries, Blue Solutions, has made no money. Last year it lost €5.7 million on sales of €97.2 million.
Perhaps the most counterintuitive venue for Mr. Bolloré’s e-­vehicle projects is Indianapolis, home of the United States’ most famous fossil-­fueled auto race.
But Hervé Muller, president of BlueIndy, said the project had the support of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, whom he said had taken a personal interest in electric vehicles and public transport as a way to improve life in HIS city. The local utility, Indianapolis Power & Light Company, is also a partner.
“The goal is to make Indianapolis a showcase for other U.S. cities. Paris is a wonderful showcase, but it’s a little far away.” The Indianapolis project has had its share of bumps, including the refusal of Indiana state utility regulators to back a Tax on electricity bills to help pay for it. But after Bolloré and the city agreed on the funds, the project is now going forward.
Mr. Bolloré is not alone in seeing the potential in solid­-state batteries. Others with products in various stages of development include Seeo, backed by Samsung Ventures; Sakti3, supported by G.M; and Quantumscape, with support from Volkswagen.
But none of them are taking Mr. Bolloré’s route of integrating production of batteries and vehicles, and creating a car-­sharing program to demonstrate their viability.
“He’s pursuing something different from what everyone else is doing,” said Cosmin Laslau, an analyst at Lux Research in Boston, adding that the strategy has put him “ahead of the curve” in some respects.
The Problem, Mr. Laslau said, is that currently there is NO real performance advantage for solid-­state batteries. Lithium­-ion technology has a 25-­year head start and will continue to benefit from improvements in operating voltage and storage for some time. “That will make lithium­-ion a moving target, very hard to beat,” he said.
So far, NONE of the large electric vehicle makers have signed on to Mr. Bolloré’s technology. Tesla and Panasonic announced last year that they would build a $5 billion “Gigafactory” to make lithium­-ion batteries in Nevada. The Renaul-­Nissan alliance has gone with LG Chem and Automotive Energy Supply for their lithium-­ion batteries. BMW’s i3 relies on Samsung SDI.
Mr. Laslau predicted that it would NOT be until the 2020s that solid-­state batteries would begin to reach their full technological potential and make an impact on the market.
The question is how much patience Mr. Bolloré will have to wait for his battery side bet to pay off.
“If he gets bored and cuts it off,” Mr. Laslau said, “it can’t survive.”

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that Vision Fleet negotiations are also going on behind closed doors. I guess " What's in it for me?" trumps what's good for the taxpayers. Do taxpayers have any standing to take illegal contracts to court? Obviously I am not an attorney.

Anonymous said...

Dirty paper and coal powered cars- progress?

Anonymous said...

The natural consequences of electing ex-drug dealers and con artists to the council.

Anonymous said...

There is quite a lot of precedent for dissolving the city county council and simply going without one. Perhaps Indianapolis would do better with one elected city executive, for instance, a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) instead of a mayor, and reduce the number of government layers and elected offices in favor of competitive hiring of Agency heads with mandatory term limits. There are alternatives for the delivery of government services. There are, in fact, places in the world where government operates quite efficiently and is simply a vehicle for serving the needs of the general population. We all know Indianapolis government is rife with fraud, self-dealing, misrepresentation and secrecy, and power brokers are concentrated within the campaign contribution donor population and politically connected lawyers and law firms. Scarce resources, our tax dollars, are misappropriated to uses the general public cares nothing about so that “deals” will benefit a certain “downtown” class of “operators”. Indianapolis government doesn’t really even pretend to represent the best interests of the common man in the street. Even a casual review of the way TIF zones operate to siphon taxpayer money away from certain neighborhoods and into certain other neighborhoods is patently unfair, and citizens in the losing neighborhoods have little recourse. Perhaps we can do this business of running Indianapolis better. We have the power of referendum. And some really smart people in our major universities. I like to think Indiana and Indianapolis has the brain power to do better. We find ourselves with a group of men leading us down the wrong path. Maybe its time to throw the bums out. I’m not sure that can happen in the traditional election process. I think we should consider our alternatives for this new century. Surely that doesn’t involve lawyers from big Indianapolis law firms calling the shots on spending, debt and deal making for our city. If we don’t fix our failures the consequences will be terrible. First we should try being honest with ourselves about what is really happening.

Anonymous said...

With the exception of The Honorable Christine Scales, I am all in favor of disbanding the Indianapolis City County Council. With the Blue Indy cave-in, these Councilors prove AGAIN they are non-essential and rarely have the best interests of us everyday people in mind... their utopian folly of a New York-like or Chicago-like urbanity has ruined our once very-livable City Core.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'm stunned that anyone who regularly reads this site is surprised by any of this. This is your city, folks. This is the way it works. This is the way it has worked for as long as I can remember. It goes back wayyyyyyy before the Roly Poly Marine. This is business as usual and it's never going to change because at some point all of the people who are capable of effecting such change simply give up and leave and we're left with choices like Smokin Joe vs. Carpetbagger Chuckie. Everybody who comes here to do business knows how this city works. Most everybody who lives here is fine with it...obviously.

Anonymous said...

No, Anon 10:40, we are NOT "fine with it". I've been personally involved with the Marion County GOP fighting for change. I am curious to know which political or civic organizations you actively have been or are involved with as a change agent.

What we participants learn real fast, up close and personal, is that the corrupt attorneys (yes, attorneys!) and the corrupt politicos have the system so sewed up that it is near impossible to make a dent. That Wednesday night monthly GOP deal is like an incubator for the newly-minted JD holders without jobs... and those new wannabe successes dare not buck the system, even though they see the corruption- because they need jobs and do not want to ruin job prospects with appearing to be honest and above purchase. Further, the corrupt judges (yes, judges!) in both parties will never help out anyone they know cannot be bought... harsh "charges", sure... but from what I witnessed it is my opinion this to be the case.

No, most everybody is NOT fine with corruption and yes, it has been here for decades, corruption long-perfected by Democrats and Republicans alike.

And for this reason, I am one grass roots who will no longer "participate" in the poliical sham. If that means never voting again, so be it.

Anonymous said...

I thought you, Gary, and your readers might be interested in this little exchange between me and Alvie Lindsay, the Indy Star's News and Investigations Director. I commented on the stupid story on yesterday's horrid article: "15 women to consider for the $10 bill." The Star is a joke!

ME: "Once again, these types of stories are indicative of the fact that the Star's editors lack both integrity and respect for serious journalism. It's no wonder your readership is sinking faster than the Titanic!"

Alvie Lindsay: "It's indicative of the fact that we understand there is room -- and a need -- for various types of journalism. Our ongoing investigative coverage of the BMV, of violence in Indianapolis, of government conflicts of interest, and today, the court appearance and charges against Jared Folgle, are just a few examples of the very serious journalism we pursue every day. And our online readership continues to grow along with our commitment to reach a community that wants and expects coverage that spans topics and tone. Thanks for being among those readers."

Of course, you have some guy from Lafayette who chimes in, "Explain how this article lacks "integrity." Some folks will buy anything!

Notice Lindsay doesn't say ANYTHING about investigations of the Ballard Administration, or Indiana's corrupt politicians.