Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tully Finally Pens A Critical Column Of Ballard: Challenges Him For Spending 62 Days On Out-Of-State Junkets

It's hard to understand why it took a disastrous handling of snow removal during a major winter storm for Star political columnist Matt Tully to finally write a critical column about Mayor Greg Ballard after almost 7 years, but he finally got there. In today's column, Tully finds a mayor who is: "dismissive of valid concerns"; "I'm smarter than anyone else"; "inability to tolerate different opinions"; "won't listen to complaints"; and "lost interest in the nuts and bolts of running a city . . . but not the trappings." Tully's toughest criticism of Ballard is the inordinate amount of time he's spent out of the city traveling on various junkets--62 days last year alone:
During 2013, Ballard spent 62 days on out-of-town travel, not including personal trips. He attended a bike summit in Washington, spent almost a week in India on a trade mission, a few days at a robotics tournament in California, and four days at the NCAA Final Four championships in Atlanta. He jetted off to France, Germany and New York for symposiums, meetings and summits. He went to Chicago and Barcelona, Spain to receive awards from the parking and electric-vehicle industries — industries that have fared well under his administration.
Some of the meetings were of clear importance, such as one on crime at the White House. But the value of other trips was less obvious. Does an American mayor really need to spend five days in Florence, Italy to “discuss cultural and urban redevelopment?”
Travel for Ballard and, in several cases, his wife, was financed largely by Develop Indy, an economic-development arm in the city funded primarily by local corporations, and by other non-taxpayer sources.
The mayor’s spokesman defended the travel, which collectively in 2013 was the equivalent of spending all of January and February, and three days in March, out of town. The spokesman, Marc Lotter, said several of the trips were related to areas in which Ballard “has taken a leadership position,” such as water issues, biking and parking meter privatization. He said the mayor “is never out of communication with the city, so the work of the city continues.”
Still, 62 days out of town when his city was suffering through the worst murder rate it has seen in years? Are more international jaunts, four last year alone, worthwhile when those in the past have produced few significant results?
When asked about his frequent international travel recently, the mayor offered yet another irritable reply.
“This is a global economy,” he told Murray. “You’re going to live by it, or you’re going to die by it — take your pick.”
I talked to Ballard late Friday, just before filing this column. Most of the conversation was off the record at the request of his staff, but Ballard did defend his travel and what he called his focus on the city.
“I just think it’s important to get out there and have a presence,” he said of his travel. “We’re getting a lot of notice for a lot of things outside of the city.”
At home, he added: “The things are getting done. I don’t know anyone could suggest otherwise.”
For Tully's edification, Ballard didn't turn into this monster after 7 years in office; he became that way within his first 30 days on the job. For someone with a very unimpressive resume' short on significant accomplishments, his ego outgrew his head pretty quickly. I'd like to see how much Ballard is declaring as income on his tax returns for all of these free vacations and other gifts given to him and his wife by city contractors and developers to which his administration has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts and grants. I'll lay odds that he's not declaring a dime of the amount, which runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars as income.


Greg Wright said...

Maybe this is the start of our Liberal press supporting a Dem for the next mayor.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Is there a bigger tax-and-spend liberal than Ballard seeking the Democratic nomination?

Flogger said...

Tully, seems to be saying be more like Obama put a "concerned" but upbeat acting performance. Style over substance. I guess that is why Tully has probably cried crocodile tears over Hogsett removing himself as a candidate for Mayor.

Not one word in Tully's Column about the Millions of dollars poured into the Pacers Pockets.

Lets see which potential Democrat Candidate now begins to hype up.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I don't think there is a bigger tax-and-spend liberal than Greg Ballard. Ballard is the most liberal Mayor I've ever lived under.

Unigov said...

well, at least the snow gets plowed....uhhhh, least crime's under control....uhhhh, at least the city's finances are in good shape...uhhhh...

Anonymous said...

All I take from this hit piece are the facts the mayor travels to promote our city, doesn't suffer fools, has done good things for this city, and has a great staff. Is he a little rough around the edges? Hells yes! But the Marine gets things done and I'm happy with that.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon, a/k/a, a paid spokesperson for Ballard, those trips haven't yielded a single new job for Indianapolis. They are nothing more than an opportunity for the pay-to-play contractors and developers getting rich at our expense to take Ballard on a ritzy vacation outside the country to entertain him and his wife out of view of the people he was elected to serve.