Friday, January 4, 2013

Ballard Barks Back at Tully on Twitter

That tweet came from Mayor Greg Ballard this morning after the Indianapolis Star's Matt Tully penned a Jan. 3 column extremely critical of the policy on snow and ice removal on the city's residential streets.

The crux of Tully's argument is that if the City of Indianapolis wants to find the money to do something that it does it.  He's right.  Again and again, the city has found a few extra million here and there to pay for things like hosting a Super Bowl or helping to bail out the Pacers and the CIB.  He argues that we should expect more out of city services even if it means paying more in taxes.

While many icy areas on my neighborhood streets have melted, there are a few spots here and there that are essentially ice rinks with potholes.  As more and more cars have gone over the thick ice, they have become rutted and rippled.  It's not an easy drive nor an easy place to stop your vehicle should a young child dart out in front of you.  My streets are better than many downtown which are now caked with two or three inch thick layers of ice.  The problem is there and anyone who drives a neighborhood street can see it.

Instead of a more measured tone, Ballard seems to be taking Tully's criticism of policy as criticism of the Indy Snow Force.  If Tully did that, that would be completely misplacing the criticism.  Thing is, Tully's piece doesn't do that, and it indirectly lays the blame at the feet of the Ballard Administration.  Indy Snow Force and the side contractors utilized by the city do a tremendous job, and they should be commended.  The problem is policy.

My friend, Paul Ogden, took Tully to task for the column as well, but he did it in a different way.  Tully also argues that Indy residents perhaps should "chip in a little more" in taxes for better snow removal.  That seemed to set Paul off.  Ogden wrote on Facebook :
Matt Tully never complained about the City giving away millions of dollars to politically connected developers and contractors. He has never written one word against the Broad Ripple Parking Garage paid for with our tax dollars and simply given away to a contributor to the Mayor. He supports the establishment of TIF districts which have been shown to drain precious resources from city services. He found "no problem" with a 50 year parking meter deal that gives away 70% of the parking meter for the next 50 years. When all these giveaways of our tax dollars happened, Tully remained silent. Now he complains we don't have money to do basic services like clear side streets of snow. I'm reminded of the Bob & Tom Mr. Obvious bit where a clueless person (Mr. Obvious) doesn't see the obvious connection between two things. Matt Tully is Mr. Obvious.
Can't argue there either.

Bottom line though is that Ballard, in this case, comes off again as thin skinned.  Rather than a measured and ready response to criticism, we get a "haters gon hate" response.  Heck of an irresponsible way to lead a city.  That's not the "paradigm he inherited."


Had Enough Indy? said...

The PR machine likely told the Mayor's twitter handler to divert the criticism from the Mayor to the working stiff. Is Ballard actually in town anyway?

Anonymous said...

Maybe in the mayor's neighborhood the streets are clean but all of the side streets are ice rinks.

Why should we raise taxes Mr. Tully? We have money for the Pacers and the Colts and free parking garages. Over 12% of the taxable dollars in this town are covered by TIFs and we keep adding more TIFs even though 40% of those are completely dependent on property taxes. We can give away city resources like parking meters for a mere pittance.
The state picked up police and fire pension liabilties and the feds gave us dollars for more police and yet we have fewer police and a higher public safety budget.

We have plenty of money for the CIB, ICVA, local developers and billionaire team owners but need more taxes to plow streets. It economics 101 Mr. Tully from a limited pool of dollars you need to optimize how those dollars are spent. If the city is running out of money it's entirely due to the city misplaced priorities.