Sunday, September 10, 2006

At Least Tully Gets It

AI has been pretty rough on Matt Tully as of late, so it is only fair that he be given credit when credit is due for saying the right thing. And Tully gets it right today when he asks that Colts' owner Jim Irsay step up and help solve the funding problem for the new Lucas Oil Stadium. Tully writes today:

. . . But what about the odds that Colts owner Jim Irsay will step up and help a struggling city that gave him everything he wanted last year?

Those odds are as bad as last season's playoff performance.

Too bad, because Irsay has a great opportunity to thank a city that raised all sorts of taxes to build him a stadium, even though the city can't afford to fix its sidewalks or fully staff its Police Department.

Here's the opportunity Irsay now has: He can help the city raise some of the cash needed to run Lucas Oil Stadium. Help is needed because, as you've surely read, the city has no money to operate the new stadium . . .

But there are also great arguments for his chipping in.

Start with the naming rights. We all knew they would bring in a bundle, but nobody predicted Irsay would get $121 million. Remember: That's for naming a publicly owned and publicly funded building.

Can't the city have a drop of the Lucas Oil gusher?

Then there's the giveaway that's come to symbolize just how sweet the deal was: The Colts keep half of the money from nonfootball stadium events. How Irsay intercepted that cash, I'll never know. But the city could really use it.

Tully's point has been the same AI has made from the beginning. The deal the city negotiated with Irsay is way too one-sided. Had the city simply negotiated a deal in line with agreements negotiated between other football franchises and their host cities we wouldn't be talking about how we're going to pay for the operating costs of the stadium right now.

What really bothers me about this discussion is that the mainstream media has taken the position that it's the state's responsibility to solve this problem for the city with a state-funded solution. That's dead wrong and dishonest. The Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis Business Journal have both argued on their editorial pages that it's the state's problem. The Star recently editorialized:

But Kenley and other state leaders are wrong to toss off the looming shortfall as the city's problem when, after all, the state took control of the stadium as part of the financing process.

And the IBJ, just this past weekend wrote in an editorial:

We would've expected the matter of additional operating expenses to be hammered out when the stadium-funding bill was negotiated. It's hard to believe anyone from either party who claims to have not been aware of the problem. More disturbing is the idea that those at the table knew about the unfunded liability but didn't insist that a resolution be found.
What is even more disturbing is the IBJ's blatant dishonesty to its readers. Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville), one of the stadium-funding bill's chief sponsors, has made it clear that he and other legislators were aware of the operating expense shortfall, and that it was made clear to the city that the regional tax being authorized to pay for the city's new football stadium could only be used for construction costs and not ongoing operating expenses. This would allow the tax to go away once the construction debt is retired. Sen. Kenley has said that he told the city he was willing to provide a county-only funding solution to the problem.

What Mayor Peterson wants is the old bait-and-switch scheme the city pulled off with the construction of the RCA Dome back in the 1980s. A "temporary tax" was enacted, the public was told, to pay for the construction costs of the new dome. When that debt was retired, the public was told the tax would go away. Of course, we now know that the tax never disappeared. Instead, the city was allowed to divert funds intended to pay only construction debt to ongoing operating expenses for the dome and convention center. That's the exact same solution Mayor Peterson is proposing for Lucas Oil Stadium. The big difference, though, is that he's expecting Marion County's neighboring counties to be responsible for the operating expenses of a stadium only Marion Co. taxpayers will own.

What AI finds disturbing is that once Mayor Peterson learned that the state wasn't going to allow him to put neighboring counties on the hook to fund the operating expenses of the stadium, he allowed construction of the new stadium to go full speed ahead without first attempting to get Colts' owner Jim Irsay to chip in more to help solve the looming long-term problem. That now allows him to say that it would be wrong for the city to go back and try to renegotiate a deal it already finalized with Irsay. Tully makes this point in his column today. He writes:

The city, however, won't ever get it. Mayor Bart Peterson certainly won't ask for it. He said it would be wrong to "turn around and say, 'The agreement I agreed to and you agreed to is too good for you.' "

The mayor is right.

Irsay got his deal and, in turn, agreed to stay in Indy. He only has to field a team. He can stand back as the city raises more taxes and cuts more services and pays for his palace.

Perhaps Tully is right and Mayor Peterson can't ask Irsay to chip in. I personally don't agree with Tully. Didn't Carmel Mayor Brainard recently go back and negotiate an agreement with the Gramercy developers after the city had already given approval to its development plan for the benefit of Carmel residents who were concerned about the density of the new housing development? While Peterson may not be able to negotiate a give-back from Irsay, another mayor certainly can. That sounds like a good reason for Indianapolis voters to find a new mayor next year--a mayor that puts the city's voters above multi-millionaire businessmen who don't even live in our city.


Anonymous said...

You were doing OK until you resorted to your Republican core and said we needed a new mayor.

If so--whom? Among the current Republican ranks? Ike? Please. Hinkle, Brizzi, et al? Ugh.

The state and city both knew about the $10 mil shortfall. A pox on both their houses.

A slightly deeper pox on the Republicans, who demanded control and had to have their toys or they'd go home.

Tully speaks well in his column, but it took only a little work...a phone call to Jim Irsay. Stop the presses, Matt has broken a sweat.

This is all interesting discussion. But hardly reason to change mayors.

Not even.

If I were a Republican leader, I'd be trying to talk Phil Borst into running next year. He's solid, smart, and a calm leader. Next to Ike, he looks positively timid. And he always looks smarter.

He's forgotten more about city government than Ike will ever know.

Wilson46201 said...

... and after Ike's egregious screwing the GLBT community by promising gay-friendly votes to get elected but then totally flip-flopping his positions by voting against even a simple Human Rights Ordnance.

Ike is a lying snake!

Gary R. Welsh said...

Ike Randolph will never get my support. You raise a good question anonymous. The field is pretty thin on the Republican side and even thinner on the Democratic side should Peterson decide not to seek re-election, which I don't expect him to do.

Wilson46201 said...

the Bayhocrats can always field somebody ...

Anonymous said...

Borst is still my man for your side of the aisle, AI. It'd be hard to vote against him. Except that he'w rong on most of the issues. Nonetheless, a good man.

There seems to be substantial speculation among Republicans that Bart will not run for another term as mayor. Wishful thinking perhaps?

There are strng hints he will run for governor in 2008, so....maybe you're right.

But if he's not going to run, he'd better install his successor fast.

Or the Center Twp. Dems will start a retribution-filled endorsement fight.

A pre-Julia replacement fest, complete with all the same lying characters.

What fun.

(Bart will run.)

Anonymous said...

I knew when the whole stadium deal was going down there wasn't going to be enough money and the powers that be would end up coming back to the taxpayers with their hands out rather than tightening their belt. How about some of those high paid players giving a little back for the good of the city or the priviledge to play. It is a game afterall not finding a cure for cancer!

Speaking of a Julia replacement fest - word is she is grooming a FAMILY member, and I mean blood family. Surprise!

Anonymous said...

New post topic, maybe, AI? Julia Replacement Fest?

I have heard the family member thing, too.

I don't think the committeemen and women would buy that, though.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anonymous--do you have a name of a family member to share with us?

Anonymous said...

I think the best thing Peterson could do is run for Governor. It's rather obvious that his negotiation skills are next to zero...after he loses to Daniels his political career will be over.
I wonder how much Irsay has to donate to Petersons election campaign (through ghost donations of course) it has to be substantial.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious, Ernie.

Daniels couldn't get re-elected dog catcher right now.

And in the last cycle, Irsay donated to both guubernatorial candidates and to Peterson.

Anonymous said...

I believe it's her nephew, the one whose name she's placed all her properties in. She's a slum-lord.

Anonymous said...

I had heard the slumlord thing many times, so I asked her in April

She owns two rentals.

Hardly makes her a slumlord.

Another urban myth debunked.

And her nephew, well, let's just say JC is a LOT smarter than the nephew. Get the picture?

Anonymous said...

One building can make you a slum lord if you don't take care of it, it has nothing to do with numbers.

Anonymous said...

She has a grandson that is supposedly interested in running for some sort of political office in the near future. I don't know his name.

Wilson46201 said...

Ms. Carson owns just one 'property' right next door to her home. She's owned it for years ... it's unoccupied and has been for some while.

Anonymous said...

Wilson46201-Julia Carson is a slumlord and you it. Andre Carson is her grandson rumored to be her successor.

She may only have 2 properties now in her name, but I can assure you that she has put the others in a relative's name to avoid disclosure.

She pay's the bills for him.

Anonymous said...

ANYONE else noticing that Tully is not updating his Blog since LABOR DAY? I have seen the same stale itmes there-- not to mention none of my comments being posted. Hmm.. amd I a raving lunatic? Ok, don't answer that!

Anonymous said...

Re: Tully - I thought my computer was whacked, thanks for confirming it wasn't me.

Maybe Tully will be axed? :) One can always hope.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Let's keep the comments on topic. This post has nothing to do with Julia Carson

Sir Hailstone said...

Hailstone for Mayor. You heard it here first... ok second. It's on my blog first.

12:35 PM: There's always one reason or another to change leadership. When the city has gone down the tubes, when the LEO's have lost all respect for the brass and the civilian leaders, when the Granma (think Cuba) has to scramble to come up with Mayor Bart friendly articles. Now another member of the Machine, Coroner Ken Ackles is under investigation for stealing $3K there is reason for sweeping changes.

OK Wilson when are you or your sockpuppets going to cry "political witch hunt" against Carl Brizzi for checking into the activities of the Coroner's office?

Even if Bart doesn't run (which he will no doubt) the Machine will put one of his lackeys up to run. And buffalo people into thinking this lackey is really worth gold.

Sort of like how the Mayor Bart is parading his pet Melina Kennedy around to get his claws into the prosecutor's office.

Back to this topic at hand and the original article: When Mayor Bart stood on the field and pronounced "We have a deal!" ... what he really meant to say was "I gave away the city to keep the Colts here".

lafblog - no you can't be the "raving lunatic" for Matt Tully's blog. That's my title there.