Sunday, August 8, 2010
I don't know what the city's taxi industry did to tick off Mayor Greg Ballard, but whatever it was, it must have been bad.
It seems like each day, there's a new headline about the Ballard Administration's "War on Taxis" and his crusade to clean up the industry. He is dedicating manpower from the Department of Code Enforcement to make sure that those evil taxi drivers speak English, wear covered footwear, and carry the appropriate paperwork. Some bloggers like Gary Welsh over at Advance Indiana are suggesting things more sinister.
Of course, Indianapolis is such a taxi-heavy city! Wow! Everywhere you go, there are taxis, taxis, taxis. It's just like New York City and Chicago combined! I can totally understand why the Mayor would pick such a visible and well-used industry to attack.
If you detected sarcasm there, then you are a wise reader.
I have ridden in a taxi exactly twice in my life here in the City of Indianapolis. Both times it was after I took the Bloomington Shuttle Service from Bloomington to the Indianapolis International Airport. I needed a ride home, so I took a cab. Of course people do use taxis in the city, but, with due respect to John Boehner, Mayor Ballard is basically using a nuclear weapon to kill an ant. He's putting the full power of the Mayor's Office behind, what I see as, harassing taxi drivers.
I think that there are many many many more pressing issues the Mayor should be dealing with. It also seems to me that Code Enforcement might be more well-served in protecting our neighborhood zoning rules than running taxi license sweeps.
To me, the taxi crackdown shows that the city's priorities are its image, its image, and its image. Ballard says public safety is job one, but the recent headlines seem to make you think that maybe it's further down on the list.
It just seems odd. Very odd.