Friday, July 03, 2015

More Blue Indy Madness

One has to wonder if Mayor Greg Ballard has a financial stake in the financial success of Blue Indy given the mountains he's been willing to move, not to mention the laws he's broken, to ensure the French-owned electric car sharing business gets everything it wants, affected businesses and neighborhoods be damned. He initially tried to force IPL ratepayers to pay tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure improvement required to install power charging stations around the city for the service. When the IURC shot most of that plan down, he stuck the rest of the tab to city taxpayers by illegally accessing $6 million from the parking meter fund without council approval. The process of siting the location of those power charging stations have raised yet more questions, including the violation of local city ordinances.

Based on reaction of affected business owners and neighborhood associations, the Ballard administration had zero public dialogue with anyone other than Blue Indy about the siting of those power charging stations, which consume valuable and scarce public parking spaces in some of the City's most popular destinations. Business owners and neighborhoods have discovered metered spaces, no parking zones and neighborhood parking spaces were being converted to exclusive parking/charging zones for the Blue Indy cars only after construction workers showed up and began tearing up sidewalks. The Ballard administration is in a mad dash to get at least 25 charging station sites in place as part of phase one of the project. It plans a total of 190 charging station sites to service a fleet of up to 500 electric rental cars. Forget the fact that the cars themselves cannot even be legally operated on American streets and highways, or the fact that the charging stations lack UL certification as required by the city ordinance the administration had written.

Not surprisingly, the administration is unilaterally choosing only prime areas to locate the charging stations. The first stations being installed in downtown, Fountain Square and Broad Ripple are clearly geared towards out-of-town visitors, not city residents. Restaurant owner Martha Hoover learned the City was grabbing prime parking spaces in front of her CafĂ© Patachou and Napalese restaurants only when construction crews arrived and began work. "They're taking up very valuable spaces in an area where parking is at a premium and is a commodity," Hoover told WTHR's Mary Milz. "There's something remarkably inhospitable about not bringing people into the process," she said.

Former City-County Council Susan Williams had a similar reaction when workers showed up one day recently and began construction work on charging stations near the corner of East and Walnut Streets in the Chatham Arch neighborhood next to the popular Mass Avenue business district where parking spaces are becoming increasingly difficult to find. The City has appropriated six parking spaces adjacent to the Nestle Inn bed and breakfast. "This move effectively strangles a small business while further exacerbating an already untenable parking situation," Williams wrote. "And, who knew? Not the neighborhood, not area businesses, and certainly not the land-locked Nestle Inn whose business depends on on-street parking."

It's always been my understanding that ordinances adopted by the City-County Council controlled public parking designation. Because the council never passed any ordinance giving Mayor Ballard authority to appropriate any public spaces anywhere in this city for the exclusive use of a private company that was awarded a monopoly electric car sharing enterprise that is being subsidized to the tune of tens of millions of dollars by IPL ratepayers and city taxpayers, I have to conclude Mayor Ballard's actions are unlawful. It's time for the council to step up to the plate and act like it did with Mayor Ballard's sweetheart, 7-year, $32 million lease agreement with Vision Fleet to lease a fleet of more than 400 electric and hybrid cars for city workers. Going to court and having his illegal acts declared void is the only remedy. Why our federal and local prosecutors sleep while this corrupt mayor steals money by the tens of millions of dollars for the benefit of his political cronies is beyond me. A stop would have been put to this madness long ago in any other major city in America with appropriate criminal indictments.


Anonymous said...

The first sentence perfectly sums up what this active Marion County GOP has long wondered; after years of Greg Ballard's senseless giveaways of public assets, pay-to-play deals such as the Broad Ripple Parking Garage, the fifty years of slavery to ACS parking meters that Greg Ballard chained Indianapolis and Her convention visitors, inane cricket fields, or the astoundingly illegal Greg Ballard venture known as Vision Fleet, it is increasingly obvious personal enrichment may very well be part and parcel of the Ballard agenda. And fairly new to Indianapolis backroom-selected mayoral candidate Chuck Brewer publicly admitted he has every intention of "continuing" the "work" and "policies" of Greg Ballard... Great. Just Great.

I've been a downtowner since my mid-twenties when my partner and I settled in at Bob Borns' 1980's Chatham area project (an apt descriptor, by the way,
considering it's condition today); I've seen the many changes in Center Township through the years and possibly the worse is that Ballard's ACS scheme has removed and seems to continue to remove necessary parking spaces. Downtown is now more than a mess for parking, it is a nightmare; just last night I told my Mass Av hair stylist I can longer make appointments on weekends and late afternoons/early evening. Some nights I give up on eating at Mesh or going to the new Toolbox store or having a drink at 45 Degrees or at the Chatterbox. But I can find parking in the near-suburbs like south Butler/Tarkington, SoBro, and the near East End. I live downtown and can't find a place to park! Let's see more crappy-clad, up-in-a-hurry Milhaus commercial/apartment eyesores crammed around Mass Av and proximate to the Mile Square.

These charging stations and Ballard's "I'm gonna do what I wanna do" are beyond the last straw. Maggie Lewis and her group have been asleep at the wheel as far as this voter is concerned- she and her gang react after the fact and way too late. Just as I wonder about the mayor's "interest" in his deals, I wonder about Maggie's crew's interest as well... say P3 projects such as the criminal justice center?

Flogger said...

Forget the fact that the cars themselves cannot even be legally operated on American streets and highways, or the fact that the charging stations lack UL certification as required by the city ordinance the administration had written.

It would not surprise me, perhaps one of those secret trade treaties gives the Corporations the power (no pun intended) to preempt our National Laws, and Local Laws.
Why our federal and local prosecutors sleep while this corrupt mayor steals money by the tens of millions of dollars for the benefit of his political cronies is beyond me.

The Crony Capitalists control almost every facet of our political system. Who is selected to run for elected office, and than in turn who will be appointed to enforce the Law. The Democrat and Republican Parties have largely implemented a non-aggression pact between them. The only reason to have elections is to satisfy the Law, and most importantly which Wing of the Crony-Capitalist Party will cash in. The system is designed as an interlocking defense system for the benefit of the Crony-Capitalists.

Anonymous said...

Well, since you brought it up, lets talk a minute about Republicans abandoning their party principles and objectives when it suits them, or as I like to call it, endemic Republican hypocrisy. For today’s example, lets examine the “premiere” anti-gay figurehead of the century, the pinnacle of hope for every Republican this entire past month, who just yesterday completely abandoned his lofty perch because, well, he wanted to. To wit: the Republican defendant in the Obergefell Supreme Court case. Your great white hope.

Rick Hodges, head of Ohio's Department of Health and named defendant in the landmark case that ended last week with the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage nationwide, gave a Bible reading Thursday at a gay wedding. Hodges stood at the Columbus nuptials of Steve George and Jeff Gatwood. "Steve's been my friend for 25 years, and I am looking forward to celebrating with him," Hodges said by telephone shortly before the ceremony began.

A number of top Republicans, including Gov. John Kasich and his wife, Karen, were on hand for the celebration. It's the wedding Kasich mentioned earlier this year when asked by a reporter if he would attend a gay wedding. Kasich, who will announce his candidacy for president this month, has said he was disappointed in the Supreme Court ruling and believes that marriage is between a man and woman.

Nevertheless, Hodges, and the Kasich’s, didn’t want to miss the great party that would be their friends’ gay wedding reception, or miss out on all the rich gay contacts they might make for their campaigns. Not illegal. Just hypocritical. This is the face of your actual Republican politicians. Slipping in the gay party when you’re not looking. Embracing the green electric cars when it suits them financially. And so on…

Pete Boggs said...

This is an unfortunate mess that will hopefully get straightened out. Now, these businesses & some restaurants, have lost parking spaces relative to zoned or permitted seating ratios & are now in violation; especially vulnerable to complaints from perpetual complaint filers with familiar names.

Terms of permitted use or zoning approval have been unilaterally altered; arguably affecting operation & business valuation. Remember that we "needed" all these metered spaces, for retail turnover & business... How does an illegal go cart operation, "exotic" or French though it be, serve the public interest?

Pete Boggs said...

Business owners might consider a Super Mario Brothers racing protest; complete with banana peels, akin to the antics of French comedian Remi Gaillard:

Anonymous said...

For whatever it is worth... I think Greg Ballard is a real and serious detriment to many of his Party's November 2015 candidates. If I were any Republican running in Marion County, I know I'd sure be screaming at the top of my lungs for a wholesale change from Kyle Walker and his Wizard of Oz flying monkey BC to every Township Chair and their unelected, ghost PC's.

Greg Ballard is the eight year political public relations disaster gift that just keeps on giving.

Gary R. Welsh said...

To those of us who follow this stuff closely, Ballard is a PR disaster for Republicans. The problem is most people don't know what we know because they only get their news from the worthless local newspaper or TV news, which has consistently underplayed these events or actually attempted to make those raising concerns about these matters as the real problem to moving the city forward. I frankly don't understand the media's unwillingness to critically cover this mayor. It's not like he's a likable person. Whenever any of them dares to ask any serious questions of him, he becomes extremely indignant and lashes out at them. I've heard from a number of people who have been involved directly with him on a number of occasions. They are very unimpressed with him and have the distinct impression he thinks he's the smartest guy in the room when everyone else is looking at each other thinking how clueless he is.

Anonymous said...

Corrupt Greg Ballard and his City Council fellow travelers from the southside have made Indianapolis less safe. Murders and home invasions every day. Gang graffiti. Wholesale disregard for speed limits and stop signs.

Political corruption renders all of us less safe. Corruption emboldens young thugs that carry guns.

The public’s confidence and trust in elected officials’ decision-making directly influence our public safety. Ballard and his City Councilor mini-mes mimic Tammany Hall of the 1930s: corruption, self-dealing, hiding contracts, illegal logrolling. They are Republican in name only. It is the most corrupt Indianapolis administration in living memory.

When public officials are transparent in word and not in deed, the public distrusts government and ultimately distrust the police.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed quite a few sites around so bro. I don't understand why they are being placed at commercial nodes. They should be placed at dense residential centers like apartment complexes and condos, and I would think property managers would be quick to offer a few off street parking places for free so they'd can advertise this as an amenity to millennial types who are more inclined to go without a car.

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of governance you can expect when you elect a breeder as mayor.

Eric Morris said...

I just saw him walking in Carmel parade and waved him over to me. I asked him about Blue Indy and illegal contracts and he did a triple take trying to understand how a mere citizen would ask tough questions at an Independence Day parade. He waved me off and said "I don't want to talk about it."

Anonymous said...

I thought the City Council was taking action for Ballard violating city ordinance by taking prime parking spaces without approval required by ordinance?

Anonymous said...

Eric Morris's experience in Carmel is another chit of proof in my opinion that Greg Ballard is psychologically unbalanced. Morris had the cojones to approach Herr Mayor but all Ballard could do was a girly-man dance and cha-cha away from Morris's valid concerns because Greg was just too afraid to answer. I've listened to Ballard at PC Calls To Convention and other GOP meetings where no one, and I mean NO ONE, could lose a crowd faster than this guy. As soon as he begins his "talks"- after all his inappropriate jarhead expressions and slogans that he must think impresses- you can actually see the crowd turn off and turn away. Ballard is renowned in some circles for his exceptional inability to speak to groups small and large and to connect with people on most any level and Mr. Morris's commentary is additional sad proof of a boob who never ever should have been our mayor.

Ballard is incredibly arrogant without reason, he has a prickliness about him like a preteen diva, and he has an authority mentality disorder (in my opinion) that causes him to think he is the end all, be all.

He is a proved liar, he's broken many laws, he pushes crony deals that are financial boons to cronies and I sometimes wonder if he's got his own finger in the till on some of his corrupt deals as well, he is a damned lousy financial steward for the Marion County taxpaying people..... and to hear he dreams of state wide political office goes to show how out of touch he is with reality.

I wonder how some of his Cathedral High School buddies remember him... and how he acted as a teenage. Ballard acts like one today.

Anonymous said...

As far as parking, taxpayers simply need to ante up and build more parking garages. Ballard knows just the guy for the contract.