Thursday, October 08, 2009

Ballard Pushes Wishard Referendum In E-Mail To City Workers

Should Mayor Greg Ballard be using a taxpayer asset to lean on city-county workers to support the November 3 Wishard referendum? An e-mail a commenter passed on to me that Mayor Ballard sent to all government workers on Thursday sure makes it look that way. The e-mail purports to solicit city-county workers to volunteer as poll workers on election day, but it throws in what looks an awful lot like a pitch to support the passage of the referendum with an extremely misleading statement. The e-mail reads:

From: Administrator, Exchange
Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 11:56 AM
To: Administrator, Exchange
Subject: Please Consider Working the Polls for the Special Election on November 3
Importance: High

City-County Employees:

In less than 30 days, Marion County voters will go to the polls to participate in a countywide referendum election to vote on whether the Health and Hospital Corporation should improve Wishard at no cost to tax payers. Voters living in Beech Grove and Franklin and Perry Township school districts will also participate in separate referenda elections concerning funding for their schools.

Poll workers are still needed for this historic special election held on November 3, 2009. Though not a scheduled holiday, I encourage City-County employees to work the polls on Election Day. Attached is a letter outlining my poll worker program, allowing you to take the day off without using benefit leave as long as you commit to working the polls and have your supervisor’s permission. To work the polls, you must be a registered voter, live in Marion County and attend training.

Please consider being part of history this November. If you have questions about becoming a poll worker, you can reach the Marion County Election Board at (317) 327-5100.


Gregory A. Ballard
City of Indianapolis

P.S. If you’re looking for a more convenient way to vote, the Clerk’s Office is now open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for early voting. You do not need a reason to vote early, but you will need to bring a valid, photo ID issued by the State of Indiana or the federal government.
I have no problem with Mayor Ballard asking city workers to help out as election workers, which he is legally allowed to do, but I have a serious problem with him using the city-county e-mail system to promote passage of the referendum. His statement that the referendum is about "whether the Health & Hospital Corporation should improve Wishard at no cost to taxpayers" is patently false. Even the news media is coming around to accept the fact that approval of the referendum will authorize HHC to levy new property taxes to ensure repayment of the more than $700 million HHC intends to issue in bonds to pay for a new county hospital. Any city-county worker reading that e-mail could only interpret it to mean that Mayor Ballard wants them not only to work the polls on election day, but he wants them to vote for the referendum. Nobody would question the fact that Mayor Ballard could not urge support for a particular candidate using the city-county's e-mail system. Similarly, he should not be able to use this taxpayer asset to promote passage of the referendum. The use of taxpayer resources to promote passage of a public question is not permitted by the law. Mayor Ballard owes all of the taxpayers of this county an apology for this misuse of taxpayer assets. Further, if Mayor Ballard actually believes the new hospital will not be funded with taxpayer dollars, then he needs to be taken to school on the government he's been elected to run. A third grader would know better than that.


Sean Shepard said...

Why does nobody ever ask "how much lower could taxes be if we didn't..."

Regardless of any increase in taxes ... after the Airport, Library, the Colts' Stadium, the need for Sewer and Water work, the CIB bailout. I want to know, could taxes [or charges for services to users of this (or any other) facility] be lower if we didn't do this?

The city made sports stadiums, a library and [just in time for ATA to, unfortunately, go out of business] a new airport priorities over stuff like sewers and a hospital if you ask me.

What are the other options? If Wishard didn't exist at all (not suggesting that - just asking a question) could the money used to cover poor and indigent care be used at other facilities?

I have to admit not understanding why we have Methodist, Wishard and IU Hospital all within spitting distance of each other. Plus the VA hospital just around the corner as well.

Also, I heard from a few sources that the Chancellor of IUPUI (??) sent an e-mail to all faculty and staff pushing for yes votes on the referendum. One person even said they were surprised because IUPUI employees' insurance plan doesn't have Wishard on it but I haven't confirmed.

artfuggins said...

Ballard lies!!!!

Had Enough Indy? said...

Whose job is it to enforce State Law? Shouldn't they at least demand that Mayor Ballard send out another email correcting his message to say that property taxes ARE on the line in this referendum and that they would be above the caps -- leaving Marion County property owners at a disadvantage to those in surround Counties? Oh, but then we can simply justify more abatements and sweetheart deals for developers who feed at the public trough.

Unknown said...

Wow. That's messed up.

Anonymous said...

Also, I heard from a few sources that the Chancellor of IUPUI (??) sent an e-mail to all faculty and staff pushing for yes votes on the referendum. One person even said they were surprised because IUPUI employees' insurance plan doesn't have Wishard on it but I haven't confirmed.

IU School of Medicine uses all the hospitals downtown, mostly for education and training. At least one IU employee is on the HHC board.

Rumor is that the Dean of the School of Medicine makes at least some decisions on how Wishard runs their ER. In fact, if you check the Wishard website,, you will see they call it "IU/Wishard Level I Trauma Center" There is also the "IU National Center of Excellence in Women's Health at Wishard" IU is heavily involved with both Wishard and Clarian Health Corp. hospitals.

It is no surprise IU is pushing for the new hospital right near campus.

The solution to oppressive taxation is pretty simple in regard to these issues: Move. I made it a point _not_ to move within the confines of Marion County when I purchased my first home. When I move again, Marion County again won't be an option unless the home price more than makes up for the oppressive taxation to payoff the political players of the elite.