Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Hodge Podge: Catching Up

During the week, I always get a number of news releases that sometimes I just don't have a chance to react to in a timely manner. Today's hodge podge is dedicated to just that, catching up.

Sanders Attacks Ballard on Use of Utility Deal Money
From the Marion County Democratic Party
INDIANAPOLIS - Today, Indianapolis City-County Council Minority Leader Joanne Sanders released the following statement with respect to the City-County Council Rules and Public Policy Committee's consideration of Proposal 212 this evening:

Mayor Ballard promised that he would not use the asset transfer proceeds to prop up the budget. He is now breaking that promise with a proposal to place $80 million of the proceeds into a “fiscal stability” fund. Additionally, the Mayor is attempting to take $104,700,000 to pay for a number of undisclosed services and consulting fees.

We know that Mayor Ballard is using asset transfer proceeds to “prop up” the city’s balance sheet and make up for his budget mismanagement over the last three and a half years. The significance of that decision is that $80 million is not available for infrastructure, education, crime-fighting, or job creation.

Together, this totals more than $184 million being diverted away from things that build physical and human capital in our City.

This proposal raises many questions and the public has the right to know:
1) Why is $185 million being spent differently than the Mayor promised?
2) What specifically is the $104 million being spent on?
3) Why wasn’t the City-County Council directly informed of the spending plan?
4) Why wasn’t this spending plan communicated to the public at the time the water and sewer transfer deal was taking place?
5) Would the public still back such a plan if they knew that approximately $185 million of the one-time money is not going to be used for infrastructure as promised?
6) Would the council have still voted for such a proposal?

In recent years and on Mayor Ballard's watch, the City has spent down fund balances – including using rainy day funds last year to, in the controller’s words, “prop up” the budget. Now, because of his fiscal mismanagement, Mayor Ballard needs to replenish city fund balances to avoid losing the AAA bond rating and putting Indianapolis economic future in jeopardy. If you want an 'honestly balanced budget,' the first thing you have to do is be honest.

Many loyal to Ballard have been critical of Melina Kennedy's plan to utilize a portion of the money from the utility deal for her Vision 2021 plan. Looks like Mayor Ballard is using it to perpetuate his record of reactionary leadership.

Kennedy Gets Endorsed
from the Melina Kennedy Campaign
Last Thursday, I was thrilled to receive the endorsement from the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund.

This prominent organization endorsed my campaign because of my continued commitment to a comprehensive smoking ban in Indianapolis, in contrast to the current Mayor who continues to voice his opposition to such a ban.

This is not only a health issue, but also an economic development issue. The longer we wait to pass a comprehensive smoking ban, the further we fall behind the more than 600 cities that already have one in place. To me this is just not acceptable.

Indeed, we should already be providing a smoke-free environment for our workers and families who live in Indianapolis. And we should offer a smoke-free city for out of town visitors who expect such an environment when they attend world-class events in a world-class city.

I want to share with you an excerpt from the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund press release:

“As a former Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and now as a candidate, Melina Kennedy understands that going smoke-free is good for health and good for business in Indianapolis. She has been a strong advocate for protecting families and workers from the proven dangers of secondhand smoke. She understands that it is time for Indianapolis to protect everyone’s right to breathe clean air and join the list of great cities that are smoke-free,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund.

“For the last four years, Mayor Ballard has stood in the way of protecting the health of all Indianapolis workers and customers. Indianapolis doesn’t need any more excuses. Workers and families need a mayor who will make sure that a comprehensive smoke-free law gets on the books in Indianapolis. Melina Kennedy will provide that leadership,” Myers said.

You can be assured that, as mayor, I will be committed to passing a truly comprehensive smoking ban, just as I am committed to improving public safety, fixing our education system and creating jobs in Indianapolis.

Melina Kennedy

Lugar's Economy Comment Draws Rebuke from DSCC
From the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Press Secretary Shripal Shah issued the following statement responding to Indiana Senator Dick Lugar declaring last night that the economy is “strong”:

"After 35 years in Washington, Senator Lugar is clearly out of touch with the struggles that so many Hoosier are facing right now. His remarks are nothing short of insulting to the Hoosier families who are very worried about what's happening on Wall Street and don't feel that the economy is strong. Senator Lugar has demonstrated exactly why even rank and file Hoosier Republicans are saying that it is time for a change. Hoosiers already knew it was time for new leadership and Senator Lugar’s remarks only reinforce that sentiment.”


Senator Lugar declared that the economy is “strong.” In an interview with WDRB in Louisville, Senator Lugar said “The American economy is still strong, that we're making progress although it's very slow in terms of job creation, and that we still have a dollar that is the world currency and we are still selling bonds to everybody all over the world despite the S&P downgrade.” [WDRB, 8/9/11]

Gosh that was an easy post. I guess I need to check my e-mail more often!

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