Saturday, January 29, 2011

Let's Keep Our Priorities Straight, Please

I don't know about you folks, but I've had my fill of Indianapolis' civic leaders and their pie-in-the sky view of what hosting the Super Bowl next year will mean to the future of this city. If you're like me, you won't be able to afford to attend this annual event reserved only for the rich and famous and the politicians who lick and grovel at their feet. The IBJ's Chris O'Malley continues the drivel being pumped out on an almost daily basis by the local news media as city leaders await this event, which will wind up costing the taxpayers of this city far more than it will ever return in economic reward. If you don't believe me, take a drive north to Detroit and look at what a shit hole that city is after tens of millions of public dollars were poured down that rat hole for a one-day event. While neighborhoods throughout Indianapolis are crumbling and full of despair, perhaps just one inciting incident away from becoming more like Cairo today than some shining city on a hill, here's what our esteemed civic leaders are focused on:

You haven’t walked along the downtown canal on a summer evening, mesmerized by the skyline reflecting on the water. You’ve not meandered Monument Circle or one of the nation’s top downtown malls, Circle Centre.

All you know is you’ve just flown into a fancy new airport terminal and as you drive toward downtown on Interstate 70 the scenery is deteriorating. A 1950s-era house facing the highway near Holmes and McCarty has a blue tarp over a damaged wall and appears to have a deer stand nailed to its roof.

Exiting toward downtown on West Street, you pass a row of industrial buildings, paint peeling from their cinder-block walls. And what’s that long ribbon of corrugated metal obstructing your view of downtown? It must be someone’s interpretation of the Berlin Wall, applied to historic Union Station’s train shed.

Imagine these aesthetic abominations as your first impression of the city, and you’ll get some idea of the challenge facing image-conscious civic leaders ahead of next February’s Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Well, welcome to Indianapolis. Drive around the city and you'll discover the landscape these civic leaders fret about letting visitors to the Super Bowl take in is nothing compared to the ugliness the residents who live and pay taxes here are treated to every day. Don't expect us to give a damn what these people who fly into the city in their corporate-owned jets for one day of partying on the company dime think. If you're that worried, suggest they fly on rented helicopters from the airport to the helipad downtown like the elites already do when heading to the Indianapolis 500 or Brickyard 400 at the Speedway so their eyes won't be burning from these eyesores we live with daily. For the unfortunate visitors who have to suffer through that atrocious drive from the airport to downtown in their stretch window-tinted limousines, I highly doubt they will be taking in the sights along the route anyway. They will be too consumed looking up the short skirts of the babes they brought along with them for their entertainment or admiring their latest cosmetic surgery fixes in their compact mirrors. If our $750 million Lucas Oil Stadium and the more than a billion dollars of public investment in our downtown paid for with our taxes isn't good enough for these visitors, then let them go f_ _ _ themselves.

I sometimes wonder whether these journalists who crank out this crap to appease the civic leaders in this town take any pride in their work. If the NFL players go on strike and the Super Bowl isn't played here next year, I sure won't be shedding any tears. Maybe then these civic leaders can return their focus to "real life" matters. And maybe the people who call themselves journalists can focus on issues that are relevant to the rest of us.


Jeff said...


I agree with your sentiment about hosting the Super Bowl completely, but I have to take exception to your characterization of Detroit. I travel often to Detroit to visit family, and can attest that it is a city working very hard to fix its numerous problems. In fact, it has a distinct advantage over Indianapolis - a well-respected mayor (Dave Bing) with a vision who has the city's best interests at heart and who isn't in some big law firm's pocket.

I know Detroit seems like an easy target to denigrate, but it really isn't fair.


Citizen Kane said...

Pretending that the Super Bowl is important is their priority, which our fearless leaders and feckless media believe should be our priority also, since the sports / convention strategy has transformed Indianapolis from Indiana-no-place to its present glory, with never-ending economic benefits.

The Super Bowl is just the frosty icing on the succulent downtown economic cake cooked up by our Five-Star Michelin politicos. And no matter what anyone says, we can have our cake and eat it too.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Jeff, I won't disagree with you that Detroit finally has a competent mayor who might not be on the take, but the poor guy is pushing rope up a hill. Detroit has a 39% graduation rate, nearly 80% of children are born out-of-wedlock and it is one of the most crime-ridden cities in America. What used to be beautiful neighborhoods where the rich lived are now lined with houses boarded up or broken down. Every year on Halloween the kids have fun setting fire to the large stock of abandoned homes. Even the downtown hotels that were a part of the Ren-Cen project back in the late 1970s have fallen into disrepair and convention centers avoid the city like the plague. Not much hope up there.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention that if you're unluncky enough to have a heart attack or some other medical emergency, you better you can hold on for at least 30 minutes because that is the average response time for an ambulance run in Detroit.

Downtown Indy said...

I sure hope they play the SB next year, without delay.

Otherwise the city will have even more time to find even more reasons and even more things they 'must' spend (er, 'invest') our tax dollars on it.

dcrutch said...

"And maybe the people who call themselves journalists can focus on issues that are relevant to the rest of us."

The original Willy Wonka was winding-up when Gene Wilder said something to Charlie like, "So shines a good deed in a troubled world." That's the glass-half-full attitude I have to believe in sometimes. Thanks to the constant investigative work of yourself and the few others we have, including channel 6's Kara Kennedy on Wayne township's retiring superintendent.

M Theory said...

While I can afford to go to the Super Bowl, I have zero desire to go.

I am all for the naked body scanners being installed at every gate to the Oil Can to radiate everyone who attends the game (for their own safety, of course).

The gov't says those scanners are safe, so they must be. (just like agent orange was safe)