Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Politics of Land Bank-gate Quite Obviously Don't Favor Ballard

Mayor Greg Ballard
Yesterday, the Ballard Administration was flat out caught flat footed and completely embarrassed by U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett.  Hogsett announced a slew of federal charges against two city employees.  Five others outside of city government were also charged in the case.

I'm not going to parse the details of the case. The IBJ has the story here.  I always look at the politics of the case, and, anyway you slice it, the politics don't work well for the Mayor.

Indy Star columnist Matt Tully argues that when members of the Ballard Administration are being brought up on federal charges the Mayor needs to be visible at that time, and he wasn't.  Ballard's absence speaks loudly.

No one is accusing the Mayor himself or anyone in the highest level of the administration of anything illegal.  In fact, it's pretty clear that Ballard didn't know anything about the investigation before it hit.  I'm sure that sends a chill up the Mayor's spine, and it should also scare you.

The two city employees charged in this matter certainly do not seem to be some behind the scenes employees.  They were operating in the area of the city responsible for economic development, the Department of Metropolitan Development.  Reginald Walton is the director of Indy's Land Bank, and John Hawkins is a senior project member for the Department of Metropolitan Development and, according to the IBJ, a former special assistant to the Mayor.  It is important to note that both Walton and Hawkins as well as the others charged in this scheme are all innocent until proven guilty.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Governor Mike Pence signed Senate Bill 621 into law giving the Mayor of Indianapolis three two more appointments to the Metropolitan Development Commission and tons more control of economic development in the city.  As of July 1, the Mayor will gain that power.  I can't say I feel too good about that right now given how much Ballard seems to know about his administration which is not much apparently.  It shows a man who is be out of touch and letting others drive the ship, and Tully hits him on this in his column as well.

We'll see where this goes from here.  I wonder if Hogsett is done with Ballard's Administration?  What else doesn't Greg Ballard know about that's happening right under his nose?  If Hogsett is running for Mayor in 2015, he just scored a big one on the GOP.  He slipped it right past the goalie and into the net.


IndyDem said...

He gains 2 more appointments to the MDC. He already has 3. They took the appointments from the commissioners and gave them to him.
But you're absolutely right. Take for example the Cricket park.
That board is already stacked by the mayors minions. Without regard to the public outrage, without regard to the logic or common sense and certainly without regard to the dire fiscal situation the city is in, they, every single one of the mayors appointments to that board voted proudly to redirect needed funds away from streets and sidewalks to to the Cricket Park for the Elite. Expect more of these deals and the corruption from power consolidation.

Jon Easter said...

Fixed the factual error. Thanks IndyDem

guy77money said...

Maybe since they signed Bill 621 Joe has decided to no longer overlook all the corruption in the Ballard administration. It could be payback time! I suspect Governor Pence and his staff are having a good laugh over Ballard's troubles.

Anonymous said...

This reflects poorly on Pence and the GOP general assembly for giving more power to a clueless mayor who is used by puppeteers to line their own pockets. The chickens are coming home to roost!

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to be crowing Joe as the savior of the party. He is not doing anything that Ballard has not done. Joe is useing his bully pulpit for political gain..plain and simple.Its the same thing Ballard has been doing with rebuild Indy..etc..Its time for a =change..a big change,and Joe is just playing the media and us. The land scam has long been known in the Real Estate whorl,why is he doing this now? Politics..he wants to be Mayor and the the Dems are buying the BS

Jon Easter said...

Someone posted a link here and made some accusations about other folks. I don't publish those kinds of comments on my blog. I wish you the best on yours.

Rick said...

If anyone bothers to read the version of SB621 that the Governor signed, the Mayor gets ONE additional appointment to the Metropolitan Development Commission.

In any event, Mayors in general should control metropolitan development. It is the essence of what a Mayor is elected to do. It is preferable that the elected Mayor have the role instead of an anonymous bureaucrat. If you don’t like the job the Mayor is doing, then vote against him in the next election.

I don’t like the job that the current President did in Benghazi, for example; but I still believe that Presidents in general should control foreign policy.