Monday, February 28, 2011
State of the City Reaction (FINALLY)
Well, I finally got a chance to sit down and read the transcript of the State of the City Address by Mayor Greg Ballard. It's a well-crafted speech that highlights the positives and hides the negatives.
As those of you who have heard or read the speech know, Ballard spends a significant amount of time talking about jobs and job commitments. That certainly would make sense for a mayor who is running for re-election in an election year to hit those notes. Ballard also talked about land redevelopment, education, crime, and other topics.
Out of the whole speech, though, one topic that has been on the hearts and minds of Indianapolis residents since at least August...if not before...has been IMPD reform. To this end, Ballard dedicates a measly three paragraphs and just eight sentences. The speech came in at around 40 minutes long. That's all he could muster? Just eight sentences.
That is what struck me most. Perhaps he wanted to steer clear of the whole IMPD reform thing with the recent death of Officer David Moore. Moore's image was present throughout the speech, and Ballard spoke eloquently on the slain officer's sacrifice. It was Moore's impending death that rightly moved the State of the City speech to Thursday, after all. That was an excellent decision by the Ballard Administration.
The speech was heavy on statistics, but it was light on action steps and specifics. Granted, it was the kind of State of the City address you'd expect.
That didn't stop the folks over at Washington Street Politics from ripping into Melina Kennedy for her response to Ballard's address. WSP criticized Kennedy for being light on specifics in her jobs plan and for criticizing Ballard for raising fees.
First of all, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Ballard's speech was also light on specifics. Kennedy should get the same pass. The purpose of her video was clearly not to rebut Ballard point-by-point but to introduce herself and her plans to the city in a "Cliff's Notes" version. In 2007, Ballard's only play in his play book was to whip up anti-property tax sentiment and say, "Had Enough?" While it worked, it seems strange to criticize Kennedy for attempting to propose things here in the early stages of the campaign.
Secondly, Candidate Ballard himself said that we could fix what ailed Indianapolis, "without asking for any more of your money." Unfortunately, I'd like to play those ads for you again here, but the user "IndyGOP" has closed up its YouTube account. I guess they didn't want you to see those ads again. Wonder why?
Truth be told, Mayor Ballard HAS asked you for more of your money, and his supporters can make whatever argument they wish, but the truth is out there.
All-in-all, the dryly-delivered speech was too "Pollyanna" for me. Those of us that live in Indianapolis each day see the headlines on the news. Indianapolis is a great place to live, but I don't recognize the shining city that Ballard describes in his speech.
If you wish to see the Mayor's speech. Here's a link.