Monday, August 14, 2006

Ruth Takes A Look At Park For Bar Swap

AI has been pretty tough on Ruth Holladay lately concerning her posts on the tragic death of a Star photographer, but she has a good rundown about the shady deal that resulted in Polin Park next to the Julia Carson Government Center being torn down to make way for a restaurant/bar in the government building for politically connected investors. Ruth writes:

What a terrible irony. Just when Indianapolis is in the thick of a wave of black-on-black murder, along comes the black Center Township power structure and offs a park located in the heart of the inner city.

Making matters worse, the half-acre Polin playground area, part of Indy Parks, will be paved with asphalt and turned into a parking lot to accommodate a restaurant/tavern that will be located in the Julia Carson Government Center -- a public building.

Excuse me, but I had the quaint idea that maybe our urban kids needed a park more than the greedy, power-drunk adults need another watering hole....but apparently money talks louder than children.

Lounge investors include Lacy Johnson III, son of Lacy Johnson. Dad is best known as a longtime Dem player, lawyer and prez of the Indy Airport Authority.

The Lacys and their buddy investors deserve the "dirty hands" award for launching this deal, with the real grime reserved for Center Township trustee Carl Drummer and Judy Hawley Conley. Drummer is the kingpin in this political power structure. Conley is the city hearing examiner who chose a parking lot over a park at a July 27 meeting of the Metropolitan Development Commission.

She is also the wife of City County Counclman King "Ro" Conley. Both are pals of Drummer, who has backed this deal from the getgo and apparently thinks he owns the park rather than tax-paying neighborhoods and citizens.

U.S. Rep. Julia Carson hardly comes out smelling like a rose, either, since she had to have known this was coming down the pike. Or else she's in even worse health than speculated -- could she be blind?

Most of the post touches on items covered previously by AI in its coverage of this issue so it will look strikingly familiar to AI readers (although nothing is credited to AI, or the Star's Will Higgins who originally broke the story). One new item Ruth covers is that the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhoods is supporting the remonstrance against the proposed restaurant/bar. McANA's position is based on the following she reports:

  • It is using public assets to support private enterprise.
  • It is creating excessive uses when there is no primary uses for theproperty.
  • Cutting into Kessler Park and Boulevard Plan.
  • Contrary to the Mapleton Fall Creek Neighborhood Association ComprehensivePlan.
  • Moving park from neighborhood where we should be preserving park space. Contrary to Community Value & "Pathway to Future" documents.
  • Taking away the Al Polin Park

Glad your weighing in on this issue Ruth. It deserves more attention from the mainstream media. I'm disappointed the Star's editors have yet to weigh in with an editorial on the subject.

UPDATE: Rishawn Biddle has some harsh words for Carson, Drummer et al over at Expresso on the subject:

Revelations that Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer helped clear out Abe Polin Park next door to the township's headquarters near Fall Creek in order to provide parking for a bar (run by the son of building namesake Julia Carson's longtime major domo) opening inside of it, offer another reason why township government -- and the corruption associated with it -- ought to be tossed out into the ashbin of history. But Blacks should be especially annoyed by all this. It's not only because such actions hurt most the mostly-Black residents who live in the neighborhoods surrounding the Carson Center, but because the type of dealmaking in which Drummer and Company are engaged is just so penny-ante.

And that's just the first paragraph. Click here to read more.

NOTE: Abdul in the Morning guests on WXNT tomorrow (Tuesday) morning will include 7th District GOP congressional candidate Eric Dickerson, who will discuss the park for bar swap. The show is also trying to get Rep. Julia Carson to make an appearance as well. No word yet on that.


defendant of our mother earth said...

u dun expect people to erad the whole thing rite?

Anonymous said...

Ruth was, and is, a good writer. She dug up the info on this, and probably isn't finished.

The hearing this week needs citizens to show up. But it will breeze through the Commission. The next step would be a hearing before the full Council to confirm or deny the Commission's recommendation. But here's the rub:

Any member of the Council can call up such a case for full council vote. But typically, this Gang of 29 only follows through if the district councillor in question calls it up. That's Mr. Abdullah, who indicated he knew nothing of the whole Polin Park issue.

(Isn't is amazing how few people knew about this supposedly Black Yup mingling bar? Especially people in the black power structure, who ought to have known.)

After the Commission hearing, dial up and e-mail Mr. Abdullah.

An e-mail to the rest of the council wouldn't hurt. Especially the four at-large members, who include...trumpet blast here: Majority Leader Conley. He should recuse himself, but he hasn't in the past, when asked to rule on his wife's goofy decisions.

Anonymous said...

Go McAna, Go McAna, it's your birthday, it's your birthday.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, AI.
I read Will Higgins' story in the Star, and it was, as usual with Will, delightful and entertaining as well as informative. Then I got an email from a reader raising holy hell, saying there was a lot more going on than what had been reported so far in the Star.
Thanks to AI for being ahead of the game and IBJ editor Tom Harton for writing on the comprehensive plan in the current IBJ.
I agree -- this story deserves a good ride and digging wherever it can get it.

Anonymous said...

Julia was a no show as usual.

Eric Dickerson got asked some good pointed questions from the callers on a range of topics.

Too bad Julia was not there to chime in her thoughts and ideas for the callers.