Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ballard Administration Caught Crafting Message on Effects of Water Transfer

It looks like Mayor Greg Ballard’s Office is pitching a story to the local media regarding the water utilities transfer, and it's gotten really specific.

A friend of the blog forwarded this e-mail from one of the Mayor’s Neighborhood Liaisons which pretty much states the strategy of the 25th Floor. Hurry up and pass this confusing water utilities transfer that may or may not be bad for the city City-County Council or else!!! It all culminates in a big media event to make the case about how the water utilities transfer allegedly effects neighborhood renewal…or something.

Here is the release:
If anyone is interested please plan to come to this media event.

5.11.10 Announcement Overview:
On May 11th, we will hold a media event to highlight examples of critical projects that cannot be completed unless the utilities transfer is completed.

The event will take place at the site of an unsalvageable abandoned home near a street in need of resurfacing. The current location selected is 825 Eugene street – a house just west of MLK Blvd.

The utilities transfer is about transformational change that is long-overdue in our neighborhoods. Our inventory of critical infrastructure needs is immense. We have unsalvageable, abandoned homes that are a source of crime and blight in our community. We have thoroughfares, residential streets, sidewalks, and bridges that are crumbling. And without the utilities deal, these examples of critical projects and the hundreds of others like them will not get done. “Homes like this will not be torn down. Streets like this will not be resurfaced . . . unless the Council passes the utilities transfer.”

Unsalvageable abandoned home in the background.
Nearby street in dire need of repair
Map of approximately 20 similar sample projects from around the city
Photos of some of the projects

Catherine E Moore
Mayor's Neighborhood Liaison North Outer Region
Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services
Gregory A. Ballard, Mayor

I wonder if the media will participate in the choreography. Hey look over here…abandoned house! Look over here…street that needs repair. Hopefully, if they do, they will report the other side.

As an Indianapolis Star investigation and other bloggers like Chris Worden over at IPOPA have pointed out, the entire water utility transfer could actually be possibly considered a back door tax increase. It's complicated, but here's the blog post that discusses this if you didn't read it. Here is also Chris Worden's post on the subject.

While everyone wants better streets and less blight in their neighborhoods, it's unclear to me what benefit transferring this utility brings the city. If everything is so rosy, why is the Mayor trying to so transparently craft a message and begin a narrative here? It’s rather unclear. So, whether the water transfer passes the Council or not, there will still be these needs citywide. Even if you buy his math, $425 million is a, pardon the pun, drop in the bucket in comparison to what is needed to make parts of this city livable again.

All I say is watch the news on Tuesday or Wednesday and make your own conclusions, but don't buy the choreography.


Anonymous said...

The Mayor does not even have the legal authority to negotiate this deal. How have politics in this town become so absurd!? It's not just choreography, it is a three ring circus.

Anonymous said...

How about just keeping the water company?

Let me get this straight, the Mayor wants to sell the taxpayer owned utility to a non-profit for nearly nothing and borrow hundreds of millions from this same utility to pay for tearing down homes?

It doesn't take much thought to see taxpayers are being given a loan, to give away a asset ,so water ratepayers can get scheduled bill increases, and have the money redirected away from required improvements in the sewer and water infrastructure, so someone can get re-elected, and campaign donors can profit.

Giving away taxpayer assets and building debt might win elections, but it doesn't keep my water bill from raising 900% or fix the water companies problem.

Anonymous said...

Tonight is a chance for Melinda and Brian to ask the mayor some insightful questions regarding the wisdom of this transaction.

Taking a pass on such a large problem is not an option for someone who wants to be our next mayor.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Lights, camera, action -- and there was Ballard and staged supporters, with clips of what the little guy in Indy will get if he gets to do the deal, and that opposition to this transfer, is pure political posturing. It is up to the council members not to let his so-Hollywoodish stunt prevent them from saying, no to the sale.

Has the Democrat Council leadership issued a statement on Ballard's request, yet?

Wilson46201 said...

GOP Congressional candidate Marvin Scott is Chair of the Indianapolis Waterworks Board. Folk should ask him if he's backing Ballard's backhanded tax increase?