Friday, July 20, 2007

The City That Doesn't Work

The late long-time Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley was fond of his city's reputation as "The City That Works." Laying aside the corrupt nature of his long-running Chicago Machine, the buses and trains ran on time, the streets and sidewalks got repaired, and the snow got plowed in the winter time. As Matt Tully mulls today, Marion Co. taxpayers can't feel similarly about their local government. Tully writes:

If you are a Marion County taxpayer, you might feel that you are getting a bit ripped off this year.

Consider for a moment what you have received in return for your tax dollars in 2007.

Gov. Mitch Daniels said it best when he pointed to a "clear failure" on the part of local assessors charged with determining the tax value of Marion County business property. . .

Think about it: Many assessors dared to turn in half-finished work even though they knew their inadequate job performance meant homeowners would get socked. It's hard to remember the last time we saw such an utter failure on the part of local government.

Oh, wait. I just remembered the last time. Which brings me to my second category. . .

Not long ago, before we started spending every waking minute thinking about property taxes, there was an election disaster in Marion County. I'm sure you remember primary day: Polls didn't open. Voters couldn't vote. Democracy stalled
for a day. Like the assessors, Marion County Clerk Beth White was unable to provide a basic government service -- in this case, an election. . .

Finally, let's turn to our local schools to complete the trifecta of government dysfunction.

This spring, a Star reporter learned Indianapolis Public Schools had left private and sensitive information about students available to anyone with Internet access. When it comes to safeguarding privacy, we'll give IPS an F.

Then this week, we learn IPS may have to return hundreds of thousands of dollars to the state because middle school students spent only 177 days in school last year -- three days short of the state requirement. For goodness sakes, would someone buy IPS a calculator?

I mentioned to Mayor Bart Peterson the other day that this has been a bad year for Indianapolis government. He suggested I was cherry-picking the negative news and argued that there has been plenty of good news to counter the bad. . .

Marion County taxpayers pay plenty. But all we're getting in return is one bungled service after another.

Anyone think it's time for a change in our city's leadership?


Anonymous said...

"The Destruction of a City"

Those who were able left.

Anonymous said...

Anyone think it's time for a change in our city's leadership?

Gee, really? It's time? So, people are FINALLY deciding to open their eyes at the utter destruction Bartie is leading us to?

Its BEEN time. We've been compliant little sheep for far too long.

We've been sitting back and complaining...watching as we spiral down into a crumbling crime-infested sinkhole of bad decisions and lies.

As I stated before; its BEEN time...

Get out while you still can, my friends. Don't let Bartie's know-nothing ignorant ways destroy your lives any more than they already have.

Anonymous said...

Tully's article was somewhat predictable with the exception of one VERY important thing. His statement regarding the "Democratic Machine" is a first.
Political "Machines" are viewed by the general public voters as corrupt. Some voters can live with the corruption, as was the case in Chicago, so long as the Machine can DELIVER basic services.
In the case of the Democratic Machine in Marion County, it is not only now percieved as corrupt but unable to provide basic services.
It matters not how much money Peterson has in contributions by the wealthy to his reelection efforts. What matters is that it won't guarantee him reelection. Johnny and Janie Lunchbucket will decide who wins and who loses in November. They won't vote for Peterson.

Anonymous said...

Tully doesn't have all his facts right, even though this has been a bad stretch for government.

I am no fan of township assessors. Particularly in Center, where the incompetence from the past assessor was not corrected by the new one. But they didn't turn in their worksheets half-done. They turned them in 100% complete, but on a large chunk of commercial property, they made no changes.

That's the formula the Indiana Dept. of Local Govt. Finance suggested and approved. It was done in this manner because the assessors were swamped with residential trending and other aspects of reassessment. Not an excuse--they should have hired additional outside (professional) help to get it done.

But they had no budget for that, because the City-County Council had cut their 2007 budgets to the bone. I know a township assessor's deputy who qualifies for food stamps. Seriously. She loves her job, but she'll probably have to quit it because of stress and the income level.

We need to eliminate the township assessor system, hire pros and have one countywide assessor in charge. That will cost more, but it'll be consistent and professional. A countywide assessor can ride herd over the annual review.

And then the chips can fall where they may.

Tully hasn't broken a sweat on a column since he arrived. He didn't work very hard on this one either. In short: just because Tully said it, doesn't mean it's true.

Anonymous said...

Excellent comparison! Present day Indianapolis is very much like Old Chicago...The Machine is here, as are the TAX & SPEND Democrats.

Bowes is incompetent, and knew of the problems with assessment before the bills came out, but in true Democrat fashion, he just thought the people would quietly pay the bills.

Beth "I can't run an election or open precincts" White (D). What happened here? -Incompetence.

Carl "I can 'legally' own 3 giant office buildings I don't need with TAX money & put a bar in one" Drummer (D), Center Twp Trustee.

Monroe "Sweet Pea" Gray (D) City-Council President "I don't know what my wife does," is what he tells a news reporter. OK, I'll tell you what she does, Mr. Gray: she (by virtue of marriage that means Mr. Gray also) is part-OWNER of the BAR in the Center Twp Trustee's building! So is The Machine's appointee to the Airport Authority, Lacy Johnson. Lonnell Conley's, (D) Council majority leader, WIFE approved a variance for "Sweet Pea's" WIFE to have her bar in the Center Twp Trustee building....

This is true Machine politics, and it DOES NOT work in Indianapolis!

The Machine has hired several positions that are unnecessary at high salaries with government cars, when no government car is necessary, but basic city service jobs go unfilled because the managers are told not to fill the vacancy.

Look at the number of deputy mayors, more now than ever before, and they got pay raises. Why do we need a Director of Public Safety, Asst Director of Public Safety, Public Safety Advisor, Attorney for the City Council (when we already have a Corporation Counsel)?

Machine politics is the cause of the giant tax bills. This Machine can't even pull of an election properly, but they sure can TAX & SPEND!

P. S. How many working families can afford to go see a Pacers or Colts game in the Fieldhouse or Dome built with their hard-earned tax money?

Anonymous said...

Matt, right on!

Illegitimus non carborundum est.

Anonymous said...

Will Tully have the guts not to endorse Peterson and Monroe in this election?

Anonymous said...


As a former resident of Chicago (and lifelong Democrat), I'm constantly amazed at the lack of basic services provided by the city, yet Indianapolis residents haven't complained about crumbling sidewalks, overgrown allies and lack of street cleaning. My street has never been plowed in the five years I've lived here. In Chicago, mayoral elections have been won and lost over such matters.

Anonymous said...

State won't respond to e-mail,idemcomments.article

Government Requires Snail Mail!

Welcome back to the 18th century.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, the Democrat Machine in Chicago allowed numbers racketeering on it's African Anerican southside to go unabated just as the Indianapolis Democrat Machine allows it to continue in our own African American inner city.
A major corruption scandal before November would just about put an end to this mess.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I think you meant Richard J. Daley. Richard M. Daley is the current mayor.

Anonymous said...

Bart Peterson, Mayor.