Monday, July 19, 2010

Ballard And Straub Just Don't Get It

While several prominent clergy members of the African-American community seem to get what the problem is with teen violence associated with Black Expo's second Saturday events downtown, Mayor Greg Ballard and Public Safety Director Frank Straub just don't get it. WTHR had these quotes from Ballard and Straub at a press conference called yesterday in the aftermath of shootings Saturday night following Black Expo's Teen Bling event that left 10 persons between the ages of 10 and 18 shot:

"This incident, I want everybody to understand, does not define the Summer Celebration. It does not define Black Expo, it does not define the City of Indianapolis, nor the African-American community in Indianapolis," Ballard said . . .

Sunday morning on Eyewitness News Weekend Sunrise, Straub talked about potential security changes for next year's Black Expo. He said to keep people safe, officials are considering what's called a "secure zone" downtown. It's the same plan the city will use when it hosts the Super Bowl in 2012 . . .

"You create a secure zone around the Super Bowl. You're able to search people coming in, wand them to make sure that they don't have weapons and these are the kinds of things the mayor and I were talking about last night," Dr. Straub said. "Is there a way, going forward with Black Expo, to theoretically create a safe zone so young people can come and participate in Black Expo and be downtown, but yet have the ability to look for guns and those types of things."

Meanwhile, Straub is working to get more guns off the street.

"During the course of last night, we seized a 9mm handgun, an AK-47, a .22-caliber pistol that was in the hands of a 15-year old and a .32-caliber handgun that was in the hands of an 18-year old who was one of our shooting victims," he said.
The Mayor further downplayed the event by claiming there were fewer arrests this year than in previous years. Perhaps that's because police were so overwhelmed responding to all of the shooting victims they didn't have time to make as many arrests. Mayor Ballard's attempt to isolate these weekend shootings from Black Expo is further insulting. This is not a new problem. As today's Star notes, "[V]iolence has found Summer Celebration's final weekend before."  "In 2006, five people were wounded in two Downtown shootings. In 2007, two teenage girls were arrested after, police said, one fired a gun into the air." Business owners have complained for years about the loss of business during this event because people are simply too afraid to come downtown while this event is taking place. It is unacceptable that taxpayers are expected to pick up the tab for the huge police presence--approximately 350 police officers--to patrol this event. News reports from inside the Teen Bling at Conseco Fieldhouse showed only a small crowd in attendance. Why people would dump off kids this young downtown year after year to roam the streets unsupervised and expect the police to babysit them is beyond me. When people complained about the Car Craft Street Machine Nationals bringing too much criminal activity to the City, which was attended mostly by whites, they dropped the event. Why is this event viewed any differently?

Straub naturally brings his New York egghead views to the table. He dismissed gang-related activity when questioned by the media about it. "We don't want to empower people who don't deserve to be empowered," he said. "But clearly there was a conflict between the two groups," the Star reports. Naturally, Straub thinks tougher gun laws will help the problem. Straub also wants to turn downtown into a green zone like they have in Baghdad, Iraq to curtail violence. This is the same thing they're planning to do for the Super Bowl in 2012, which is why I've been saying all along local residents will be shut out of their own downtown during the event for which our city is spending in preparation tens of millions of our tax dollars so only the elite few who can afford to spend thousands of dollars on tickets or the politicians who get free tickets to the event can take part in the Super Bowl.

Rev. Charles Harrison, unlike Ballard and Straub, seems to understand the real problem:

"We need to deal with the real issues. Some of our kids are out of control, some of our kids are rude, bad, they don't care how they talk to people, they disrespect authority and they don't respect property or life and some of our kids are violent," said Reverend Charles Harrison . . .

Reverend Harrison says he is just plain mad.

"The police department, Indiana Black Expo and the faith community cannot be babysitters for thousands of kids. Parents, you have a responsibility to bring your children to Expo and they cannot be here without parental guidelines," he said.
If this group just has to have this Teen Bling event every year, the name for which obviously courts the gangster rap crowd, then let them take it out to the State Fairgrounds and stop bringing this violence downtown every year, destroying the downtown's image and driving off business. It is quite telling how the same government and business leaders who promote the investment of hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to subsidize downtown's convention and sports facilities are so willing to let a single event that is intended to benefit one minority group do more to wipe out the gains they claim to be making with all of those investment in the name of racial sensitivity.

UPDATE: Here's some more silliness from our ICVA on claimed benefits of Black Expo to the downtown's economy from WRTV:

According to the ICVA, IBE's Summer Celebration brings in more than $23 million in direct visitor spending every year.
That number is totally bogus. Downtown business owners will tell you the exact opposite. This event hurts not helps their business. WRTV picks up on that fact:

Still, some restaurant owners, many who didn't want to go on camera, said the safety concerns outweigh a busy weekend.

"Nobody wants to work those shifts. They want to give them up because they're afraid for their safety when they're trying to get home," said Jon Andrus, owner of O'Reilly's Irish Pub. "Businesses have been told they can not close Black Expo weekend … however, there is a safety issue involved and, you know, it's tough because it's such a divisive issue and I think people just don't want to be insensitive."
Did you catch that? "Businesses have been told they can not close Black Expo weekend." Why would the businesses want to close if the event is such an economic benefit to downtown businesses? Again, it's a another one of those lies the ICVA throws out and nobody challenges them on it. Nobody wants to work those shifts because they don't make any tips and because they fear for their safety when they walk to their cars to go home. And then there's more on Ballard's claim that the number of arrests were down this year:
Police said there were 16 non-curfew-related arrests over the weekend, compared with 75 arrests last year. Officers also made 54 curfew-related-arrests, compared with 96 last year.
The only reason the number of arrests were down was because our police officers were ordered not to arrest anyone unless they saw them committing a serious crime, like attempted murder, rape, theft, etc. in order to avoid offending African-Americans. Stop insulting our intelligence by trying to convince us the level of criminal activity was down in the wake of 10 people being shot at this single event. And tell us how much those 350 500 police officers assigned to work at this event cost taxpayers. The LEOs are tired of being forced to work this event under these intolerable circumstances, the business owners are suffering losses and the taxpayers are being stuck with a bill that reaches well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars to make this "blacks only event" possible. It's time to think of the entire community's interest and stop the race pandering game, Mayor Ballard.


M Theory said...

Paul emailed me a good suggestion yesterday (at least I thought it was good).

Why not do a gun amnesty program called Guns For Pacers Tickets.

With the tax payers having ponied up $33 million, this might take the edge off the pain we feel.

I replied that I thought we should sell the guns back to homeowners for self defense and use the money raised for a few sidewalks.

Southsider said...

1) was the 18 yr victim arrested on a gun charge?
2) I did not see any news video of any air support. I would think with the history of the '2nd Saturday Night" of this event that surely a 'copter would have been up.

Indy4U2C said...

Very well said, Gary!

Hoosier in the Heartland said...

The IPD is ditching its helicopters, at least according to today's Star.

Keeping just one (with no "spares") is idiotic.

Yet another boneheaded move by Ballard!

Russ said...

Also missing from the discussion was a story reported last Friday on Channel 6 that because of the Brandon Johnson case, officers are finding that people are trying to egg them on to get a future payoff for possible brutality charges. A family actually encouraged their teen to do so when officers arrived. The lawlessness in this town is becoming unbelievable.

dcrutch said...

(An initial count of) nine kids shot on Saturday night rated page 14 of the Indianapolis Star on Sunday morning; not happening too late to get NO coverage- page 14 coverage.

I think the local news 'copter pilot must moonlight making editorial decisions for the Star.

I know said...

Well one might wonder what the NFL is thinking now with AK 47's in kids hands only a few blocks away from the grand arena for the Superbowl.

Governor Daniels, Mayor Ballard, Prosecutor Brizzi, the FBI and others....clean up your mess! Start with your white collar slimy friends that have smiled down upon the citizens of Indiana while they gorge themselves in stealing and confidence games with state and local officials of pay to play, self dealing, contracts self written and handed out like candy and then you all stand around and expect the children of your society to do as I say and not as I do!

Prosecute your ADULT friends and then maybe the children of your generation will begin to attain some respect in leadership by example.

Frauds of hundreds of millions of dollars, hardworking citizens losing their retirements and good people out of work because of the elitist attitudes in Indiana should wake some people up.

I don't think too many people will come to your "Superbowl" if Indianapolis is a cess pool.

Look out your windows officials and government leaders and ask yourself if Indianapolis and Indiana is a better place because of your last back room deal or taking care of a good ole boy friend for a few extra dollars.

The pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is in question right now in your fair city.

Shame on all of you!

Bill said...

Straub and Ballard want to take away our guns. Straub has been pusing that socialist agenda for years and could not get it done in NYC.

As for Ballard, he's not smart enough to know which end the bullets come out.

Fopr Mayor Dum Dum to say that his has noting to do with IBE is just more of his stupidity.

I watched him on the TV interviews, he was not able to complete one sentance wiht out a stumble. He is more of an embarrisment than the gangstas. But then again he is Tom Johns mouth piece, so what do you expect.

Slipdisc said...

AMEN! Thanks for keeping it real. And doing and saying what others won't for fear of not being politically correct or insensitive.

I also think the idea of a "safe zone" won't work either. Because if there is a 5 block area safe zone, the bangers will be 6 blocks out. If it were increased to 10 blocks, they would just move to 11 blocks.

Its a tit-for-tat situation that needs to start at home. But seeing as how a number of parents just don't care, if going to be a tough road.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The security zone is a total punishment of the businesses located in the downtown area. It only ensures that nobody but attendees to Black Expo will bother to enter the downtown. Move it to the state fairgrounds if the event is that important to them.