Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ballard Has Learned Little from Peterson's 2007 Loss


“Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.”
--Edmund Burke

In 2007, then-Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson made a compelling argument for a 0.65 income tax increase. Sure, it was an election year, but Peterson barely had an opponent in Greg Ballard. His election seemed to be a foregone conclusion. Thus, Mayor Peterson tied the 0.65 percent county income tax increase to public safety.

In the end, that tax increase among the other taxes and fees that had been raised and the angst over the property tax craziness (over which Mayor Peterson had no control), doomed Peterson to a loss to Greg Ballard.

Many blamed Peterson's inability to read the tea leaves and inability to recognize Ballard as a threat early enough. Some blamed Peterson's income tax increase as well.

Fast forward to 2010. Mayor Greg Ballard is in no way as secure as Peterson was at this point in his tenure as Mayor. Now, he is blatantly going against the will of the people and has turned his back on his constituents in pushing through a couple of horribly conceived and constructed city asset transfers. The latest of which was a deal that essentially sold off the city's parking assets for 50 years in return for an amount of money far less than what the city could have potentially made for doing the job of upgrading its meters and keeping the profits itself.

That's immaterial. Councillor Ed Coleman, a Libertarian, said it best at Monday's Council meeting. After disclosing that he had received 33 e-mails before the meeting that all had asked him to vote against the parking proposal and not one e-mail asking him to vote for the proposal, Coleman said, "Our constituency is against this."

Coleman voted against the parking proposal. With Ballard's backing, it passed anyway.

Mayor Peterson was a popular and strong mayor. He did many things right, but, in the end, Mayor Ballard capitalized on the income tax increase and property tax angst to pull off the major upset.

For Melina Kennedy or Jose Evans or Ron Gibson, it may not even be that hard. With Dr. Frank Straub running rampant over on the public safety side destroying IMPD's morale and making unilateral decisions with no oversight and Mayor Ballard's constant and incessant penchant for making bad business deals for city assets, overcoming this Mayor in a General Election battle would seem to be the favored outcome.

Mayor Ballard isn't listening to his contituents anymore. That's not how he campaigned.

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

Excellent political analysis. You are spot on about Ballard being clueless about the political tea leaves. I think he's so controlled by the people around him that he doesn't know anything better than to do what he is told. He's surrounded by people who are cashing in on his 2007 win, knowing he won't be re-elected in 2011.