Monday, October 25, 2010

GOP Has Forfeited Right To Run Indianapolis City-County Council

With the exception of one Republican, Christine Scales, all other Republican councilors voted tonight to use property tax revenues for the first time in its history to fund the Capital Improvement Board, notwithstanding repeated promises by Mayor Greg Ballard that he would never tap property tax revenues to fund the CIB. The diversion of this tax money made possible a $33.5 million give-away to the billionaire Herb Simon's Indiana Pacers. Ginny Cain, who obviously has never practiced law, doesn't have a clue what the Pacers' lease agreement for Conseco Fieldhouse provides. We had no legal obligation, Ms. Cain, to give this money to Herb Simon as she ignorantly claimed at tonight's meeting. I know that's what Ryan Vaughn told you. That's because his law firm, Barnes & Thornburg, has earned millions of dollars representing Simon family interests over the years. Bob Lutz caved and voted for it as well despite all of his hand wringing.
And yes, Jackie Nytes, crossed party lines and provided the lone Democrat, deciding vote in favor of the CIB's budget tonight. As I've discussed on numerous occasions in the past, Nytes has traded votes on the council for the Ballard administration in consideration of the millions of dollars in federal grant money the Ballard administration has directed to the Mapleton Fall-Creek Community Development Corporation she runs. Her husband's business, Printing Partners, a non-union print shop, has been awarded tens of thousands of dollars in printing business by the Ballard administration as a further reward. Additionally, Kyle Walker, a former staffer for DPW who now works for a consulting engineer/city contractor and is managing Mark Massa's campaign for prosecutor, has directed additional printing contracts to Printing Partners to reward her for her unpopular votes for controversial proposals touted by the Ballard administration. From this we can assume Massa has signaled he won't prosecute pay-to-play crimes if he is elected prosecutor.

Republican councilors will rue their votes for tonight's CIB budget, as well as other unpopular votes the Ballard administration and Ryan Vaughn's law firm has forced them to make in order to reward the pay-to-play club members and his law firm and its clients. Democrats have already prepared negative attack ads they will launch next year to sink Ballard's and the Republican councilors' re-election races next year for their votes and support of these controversial measures overwhelmingly opposed by the public. If these Republicans think voters were upset in 2007 over a 65% increase in the income tax, how do they think voters will think about politicians who vote to give multi-million dollar subsidies to billionaire sports team owners during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and at a time other city agencies providing basic services are seeing their budgets slashed?


Paul K. Ogden said...

I caught Cain's comment tonight where she tried to provide assurances that the money was going to run Conseco and not to the Pacers.

People aren't that stupid. The Pacers play in Conseco for free and they keep 100% of the income on the building. Now we taxpayers pay to run a building in which the Pacers keep 100% of the revenue. The only way Cain's position makes sense is if we start getting revenue off the building.

Tonight the Republicans drank the Kool-Aid. They'll be dead in 2011, at least the majority control of the council will be long gone.

Kudos to Scales for standing up to her caucus. Did you watch it Gary? I wonder if her arms were broken with all the twisting they had to be doing.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Paul, When Peterson was mayor, Cain voted against city budgets and tax increases all the time touting herself as a fiscal conservative. She has done a 180 since the Republicans took control of the council. She has even buddied up to the arts crowd who absolutely despised her when the Republicans were in the minority because of the bigotry she displayed towards gays during the HRO debate. She even had her father come and testify to the council in his capacity as a psychiatrist that homosexuality was a mental defect, a position completely at odds with his profession. Her father, you may recall, was one of the docs who was free-loading off of Ruth Lilly's estate, going off on those junkets all over the world at her estate's expense when she obviously was clueless about what was taking place. Cain is a complete hypocrite.

guy77money said...

The only thing that could save these idiots if the Pacers could win the NBA championship this year. I really doubt they can even make the playoffs this year so that fantasy will not happen. One interesting side note is that the NBA owners could lock out the players in 2012 during the contract negotiations. The Simon's could be collecting 10 million and have to pick up zero expenses with the Pacers not even playing. Throw in the possible lock out of the NFL players and we might be paying out all this money and there will be no games. I think it is about time for Indianapolis to get off the sports band wagon!

Downtown Indy said...

Ballardissued a statement:

"The action by the City-County Council to pass the 2011 budget shows a shared commitment to lead this city down a strong fiscally responsible path. Through this budget process, under the leadership of Controller David Reynolds, we have applied the same high standard of fiscal responsibility that has worked in Indianapolis for the past three years and will continue to pay dividends for the next 50 years."

"Fiscally responsible" -- What a crock. While not "high" he is maintaining the same standard of fiscal responsibility, so that part of what he said is accurate.

Cato said...

I don't care if property taxes or sales taxes are being given to sports teams. Both are fascistic marriages of private industry to government.

Putting a finer point on that, Republicans are quite comfortable imposing fascism, as they see government's proper role as meddling in the market to insure market winners.

There's nothing sacred about a property tax, by the way. I find it equally as noxious as a sales tax.

Gary R. Welsh said...

There's a better chance another Pacer will land in jail than the team making the playoffs this season, guy.

Cato said...

Guy, you are right that Indy needs to get off the sports bandwagon, but sports are one of the things cities pursue when they're out of ideas.

You don't see Indy as having something else to do besides sports, do you?

Had Enough Indy? said...

WIBC is reporting, "Republican Councillor Virginia Cain says her yes vote came down to a legal contract signed in 1999 that state if the Pacers did not meet certain revenue requirements, the city was obligated to help with operating costs for the Fieldhouse."

Councillor Cain should provide the exact clause in the Pacers/Conseco Fieldhouse agreement that supposedly justified her vote. Until then, I am forced to declare that I see no truth in her comments.

Blog Admin said...

Pat, Cain was one of five Republicans that Terry Burns reported as a likely no vote. Burns is a bit too partisan for my taste, but he's been accurate in reporting on Council happenings, and considering 4/5 voted "yes", I think something changed between his report and the vote.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Cain read her statement word for word. Someone obviously prepared the remarks for her to read. You could tell they weren't her own words.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

As a very long-time Republican, and even prior office holder, I cannot believe what the Republicans are now doing.
They are a DISGRACE to the party. If they lose their next election, it is SOLELY their own fault for caving to special interests, free tickets, meals, etc.
God help this country.

Flipper said...

Gary and Paul,
Last nights council meeting was the final draw for me. I announce today that I am done with all of them including the mayor, Irsay, the Simons and all of the CCC council members especially Ryan Vaughn and his law firm who runs this city.
My tax money, entertainment and food will no longer pay for the crap these politicians and law firms want to spend my money on!
To all the loyal city county employees. Remember, your 2011 pay raise was just given to the Simon family to support their greed..........Flipper!

Anonymous said...

The only thing uglier than the passage of the CIB budget is the war between Omnisource and Brizzi/Garrison. Its really difficult to support Republican leadership when there's so much corruption.

Marycatherine Barton said...

The yea voters last night are too awful for words. Thanks for your strong denuciation of them, AI.

dcrutch said...

Amen. It's difficult as a semi-anonymous blog commentator to accuse councilmen of being gutless, but I lack a more apt description. Must be nice to spend other people's money and get special deals for doing so. Thanks to Ms. Scales for at least voting against this one.

Did Lutz have amensia after denouncing city spending and the CIB on the radio a few days ago? What is it about being a "Libertarian" that appeals to him? He gets a longer name tag at civic functions?

The council Republicans are making Bart Peterson and Monroe Gray look more like Winston Churchill and Benjamin Disraeli every day.

It's tough to think of a much more sad state in government this side of some far-off totalitarian state, when a supposedly representative democracy has the will of the people cavalierly circumvented, by more than one level of government, by more than one party, in more than one manner.

2011 & 2012 will be very interesting.

artfuggins said...

snowballAnother nail in the coffin for Jackie Nytes......there is no way she can win the primary. It makes me wonder if she even intends to run again.

M Theory said...

Flipper, I knew you would come around eventually. Glad you have you. These jackals we worked day and night to help win an impossible election treat us no differently than the batch of self serving jackals before them.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Nytes cannot run again without running afoul of the Little Hatch Act. Believe me, there will be a challenge and I suspect that challenge will find plenty of support within Nytes' own party.