Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ballard Taking Another Junket

He's been in office less than two years, and that's been long enough for us to discover who the real Greg Ballard is. He's not a man of the people. He's a typical politician using his office for personal gain. When he's not selling private dinners with him and his wife at St. Elmo's to well-heeled political contributors interested in city contracts, he's sitting in front row, free seats at a Pacers game and concerts at Conseco Fieldhouse or chowing down the buffet food in his Lucas Oil Stadium suite at a Colts game. Unsatisfied with the free country club memberships worth tens of thousands of dollars bestowed upon him since becoming mayor, he takes in as many junkets as possible to travel outside our city and around the world at other people's expense. He's taken junkets to two Super Bowl games, Asia and South America. And now it's time for a European vacation before the holiday season arrives. A press release from the Mayor's office tells us about his latest junket:

Mayor Greg Ballard will lead a delegation of business and community leaders to Europe next week in search of jobs and manufacturing technology to benefit the city and help grow its motorsports industry. The delegation will meet with business leaders, government officials, and researchers in Cologne, Germany and the UK from November 14 through November 23.

“It is imperative that we make every effort to boost our economic development opportunities and grow our industries right here in Indianapolis,” said Mayor Ballard. “We undoubtedly compete globally, and I’m optimistic that this mission will not only create opportunities for economic growth here but will lead the way to enhanced partnerships in the motorsports industry worldwide.”

The Mayor will first meet with local leaders in Cologne, Germany, one of Indianapolis’ Sister Cities in an effort to enhance the already growing partnerships with local and international businesses based in the city. The Sister City program aims to foster working relationships between Indianapolis and the international community in an effort to grow industry and enhance cultural and education opportunities globally.

In the UK, the goal of the trip is to create permanent economic, social, and cultural linkages between Indianapolis and the motorsports valley area of England. The delegation will work to create partnerships with UK based motorsport companies - including manufacturing, retail, research, race shops, promotions, etc. - in order to build on Indianapolis’ and the UK’s respective reputations as leaders in the motorsports industry.

“As one of the top motorsports cities in the United States, it is important to continue to build relationships, create partnerships, and exchange information and ideas with companies around the world that are part of this exciting industry. We believe these types of efforts will breed jobs through attraction of new companies to Indianapolis and new opportunities for our existing companies,” said Michael Young, Motorsports Industry Director, at Indianapolis Economic Development, Inc.

The delegation will meet with various companies including Manard Competition Technologies, Aston Martin and Warwick Manufacturing. In addition, the city will look to establish a Sister City relationship focusing on motorsports exchange.
So who is travelling on the junket to Europe with Mayor Ballard put together by the Indianapolis Economic Development Corp.? His wife, Winnie, will naturally accompany him as will one of his security guards. His director of International and Cultural Affairs, Carolin Requiz Smith, will make the trip. Note to Mayor Ballard: they don't speak Spanish in either the U.K. or Germany. A big city contractor and political contributor, Ersal Ozdemir of Keystone Construction, will make the trip. An attorney for Stewart & Irwin, Scott Treadway, is making the trip. He's the guy who used to handle all of that costly Central Library construction litigation over at Tabbert Hahn before moving to Stewart & Irwin. I'm at a loss to understand his inclusion on the trip. And yet another city contractor and political contributor, Mak Knowles of American Structurepoint, is taking the trip. That's the same company that's done such a swell job managing costs on the City of Carmel's Keystone Avenue roundabouts project. I hope Mayor Ballard and his wife Winnie enjoy their free European vacation with their new found fat cat friends. It's quite comforting knowing what his real priorities are, eh?


Paul K. Ogden said...

You have to wonder who in the world is giving the Mayor political advice. You know how easy it would be to put together a 30 minute TV spot with photographs of all the exotic locales the Mayor has visited? It would be a devastating ad. How in the world do they think they'll defend that politically?

Gary R. Welsh said...

The same persons who told him to include fat cat campaign contributors who have contracts with the city, Paul. We can point fingers at his advisers, but the buck stops at his desk. Maybe we should have looked into Ballard's relationship with defense contractors when he was doing logistics work in the Marines. Ballard's firt job out of the Marines was with the Bayer Corporation managing its transportation fleet. Bayer is a defense contractor.

dcrutch said...

First, do no harm.

It was my first rule of voting before the Presidential election-it's a mantra afterwards. I'd rather- much, much rather have a mediocre John McCain in office than Barrack Obama. Therefore, I didn't vote for the Libertarian candidate because 1)he didn't have a ice cube's chance in hell, and 2)the prospect of a President Obama was a grim one. I agree with withdrawing from Iraq, pursuing volunteerism with George H.W. Bush, EPA mileage mandates, and regulating financial industry excesses like chopped-up & repackaged home loans somehow constituting sound equity- but overall Obama is a nightmare. I believe my rule is correct.

If it had looked to be a blow-out for Obama or McCain, I'd have had the luxury of voting for the Libertarian (Barr?). Similarly, I voted for Greg Ballard versus Fred Peterson, despite Peterson being closer to my ideology. Do I think our city's in better fiscal shape and safer than we would have been under Bart Peterson? Heck, Yes. Will I vote for Ballard if I think there's another cndidate WHO HAS A CHANCE TO WIN who will be less subject to THE SAME cronyism & political excess, keep our city at least as frugal and reduced in crime? I'm there! Who is it! Does it sound like our next Democratic candidate?

Deathly silence.

That means I should vote on "principal" for the Libertarian?

More deathly silence.

We're back to rule one. It depends on the potential harm.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I hear you, dcrutch. The Democrats appear poised to nominate Melina Kennedy. She ran economic development efforts for Bart Peterson, which involved passing out big taxpayer bucks to big political contributors. I can't imagine she will act any differently as mayor, particularly since she will owe a great deal to her law firm, Baker & Daniels. The only hope is to knock off Ballard in the GOP primary with someone who will be the real deal when it comes to cleaning up the deep-seated corruption in this city. If the GOP re-nominates this lousy buffoon, the Democrats are assured of winning with a candidate like Kennedy, who will simply give us more of the same.

dcrutch said...

Probably an unforgivable sin in these deep political waters, but I figured this was one of those instances where slating was to take place. If there's a legitimate primary for Mayor for all the parties, that sounds like an excellent idea. I don't know who can be rounded-up that will have less history with our pack of law firms or vested interests in this city- but I'm all ears. On the outside looking in, "slating" rubs taxpayers the wrong way akin to our lovely current lobbyist conditions (getting lots of attention in the paper this morning). However, elections do cost money.

Downtown Indy said...

Banking on motorsports is not a particularly solid plan these days.

The Indy Patriot said...

As long as Smith and Roob keep promising the healthcare support to the Mayor his wife will go on all trips don't you think?

Had Enough Indy? said...

A news report said that 4 City employees were going to Germany and another 4 would meet up with the group in England. Any idea who all is going on this jaunt?

Gary R. Welsh said...

I don't know who those are, Pat. The press release didn't list any extra city employees other than the security guard.