Friday, September 28, 2012

City-County Council Committee Approves TIF Proposal Deemed Dead By City Ordinance

[Updated] Tonight, the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee unanimously approved Proposal 15, a major expansion of the downtown TIF district to include some of the most vibrant and booming areas of the city economically. Even Councilor Steve Talley, the former chairman who stepped down in disgust as other members of his party took up the measure last month after he gaveled a committee meeting adjourned, voted for it. It is believed that Councilor Talley was told he would be fired from his city job unless he supported Proposal 15. That's how these people conduct business. Proposal 15 is actually dead by virtue of a city ordinance that deems any proposal that lies on the table without action for a period of more than 6 months dead. Nonetheless, the City-County Council is taking a second stab at passage by the full city council after it procedurally botched the adoption of an amendment offered by the proposal's sponsor, Vop Osili, who represents some of the area affected by the TIF expansion, during the committee's action on the proposal last month. [At-large Councilor Zach Adamson was the only no vote among the sitting committee members. An earlier post indicated the vote was unanimous. The voice vote was taken quickly and Adamson's no vote was not audible on the video recording of the meeting on WCTY]

Coincidentally, an architectural firm co-founded by Osili, AS2O4, and in which he declared a financial interest in as of the filing of his financial disclosure statement filed with the council in February of this year following his introduction of Proposal 15, performed work on three projects contained within the expanded TIF district as introduced. One of those projects already completed, Trail Side, was removed from the proposed expansion as a result of Osili's amendment. Two other projects, however, remain a part of it, including the Lockerbie Square mixed commercial/housing proposed by The Whitsett Group, and the Millikan project adjacent to Barton Towers. Osili claims he no longer owns an interest in AS2O4, but the work on those projects likely started before he claims to have divested his interest in the business. Councilor Osili took no opportunity to publicly clarify his relationship with AS2O4 at tonight's council meeting despite the troubling conflict of interest raised by this blog.

I've added five clips from tonight's council meeting that should cause all citizens of Indianapolis great concern about the reckless abandon manner by which the council is pursuing the adoption of this supposed "do or die" economic development opportunity. Fellow blogger Pat Andrews, in particular, does an excellent job dissecting the problems with Proposal 15, while protestations by Councilor Brian Mahern were met with deaf ears by his fellow councilors. Chairman Leroy Robinson literally cut off any debate on final passage of Proposal 15 and shut off Councilor Mahern's microphone in mid-sentence and walked out of the room while he hopelessly attempted to speak. This is an example of what happens when you have a council populated by folks on the government dole or on the take representing you.

Councilor Vop Osili attempting to explain his amendment to Proposal 15.

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Councilor Brian Mahern questioning a befuddled Councilor Osili about the change in job commitments from a 40% target to a 25% target.

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Fellow blogger Pat Andrews effectively punching holes in Councilor Osili's poorly and hastily drafted amendment and reminding the councilors that Proposal 15 is actually dead by virtue of a city ordinance because it laid on the table for more than 6 months without action. For the record, neither the sponsor nor the administration responded to any of the excellent questions she raised.

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Citizen activist Larry Vaughn bringing comical relief to the absurd and illegal consideration of Proposal 15 and drawing the admonition of Chairman Leroy Robinson for calling Councilor Osil illiterate for obviously failing to comprehend his own proposal.

Get Microsoft Silverlight Councilor Brian Mahern tries in vein to bring some reason to the discussion before the measure is passed on final adoption and Chairman Leroy Robinson literally cuts his microphone off in mid-sentence,gavels the meeting adjourned and walks out of the committee hearing.

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Had Enough Indy? said...

It is my belief that Robinsson had the public speak not from the podium, but from the farthest chair equiped with a microphone, because he did not want Larry Vaughn to be able to hoist his sign into the camera frame as the speaker made their comments (Vaughn was seated on the left side of the chamber).

If I am correct, this is a suppression of the basic freedom of speach, by a former government teacher of all things. Well, I guess I'll amend that to say, by a current government official sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.

If I may suggest another telling/comical clip.... Grab the committee's botched attempt to make the final motion. They need to have a retreat where their counsel teaches them how to make a proper motion. (and the proper pronouncement is 'it has been moved and seconded'....) If counsel had not raised his hand and suggested they have a redo - well, we'd have another committee vote with no comprehendable point. The original motion was to pass the proposal as amended. Not 'to the full council' with any particular recommendation, mind you. Just get that sucker past and we'll figure out what minutes to announce come Monday night.

They need to double counsel's salary.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks for your hard work on this, Pat. It's a shame that you're the one testifying rather than representing us on the council. You are heads and shoulders above this group of clowns. I totally understand Brian Mahern's frustration. He's banging his head against a wall trying to get these empty suits to do the right thing. I hope their pockets are full enough to satisfy them after this one. They're making Lincoln Plowman look like a boy scout, if that's possible. Someone at the FBI has been frequently reading my blog posts on this issue as of late. I hope they're actually planning to investigate what is happening before our very eyes. Obviously, Plowman's conviction has done little to dissuade the local politicians from engaging in corrupt activities.

Had Enough Indy? said...

To tell you the truth Gary, I'm less embarrassed sitting in the cheap seats.