It was Mayor Greg Ballard confronting Councillor Zach Adamson over the Council's decision to let Mayor Ballard's latest infrastructure plan die on the committee vine.
Several Councillors, including Adamson, had concerns about the way the Mayor's infrastructure plan was to be funded. It would have floated long term bonds for street and sidewalk repairs and projects that likely would not have lasted the entire term of the bonds that paid for them. It's a perfectly reasonable reason to send the Mayor back to the drawing board.
In his tirade against Adamson, Ballard allegedly promised to use the defeated proposal against Democrats like Adamson, and that's certainly his political right. It's also the right of the Democrats to use Ballard's record, this incident, and his liberal use of his veto pen against him.
In Senate Enrolled Act 621, Mayor Ballard grabbed powers from the City-County Council. He also was able to write four City-County Council seats out of existence while wresting more control of critical city commissions for himself. He also was successful in gaining more control over the city/county budget away from his elected counterparts on the Council and in Marion County Government.
It seems clear that Ballard has little respect for the legislative body of this city and county. He believes that he holds all the power. Certainly, he holds a bunch of it, but the genius of any representative government is that one particular branch of government does not hold all the power. Post-SEA 621 Ballard seems to see this as a pesky detail in the whole scheme of things.
This latest boil over or whatever it was at the Hob Knob changes things a bit. As the onion peels back, the City of Indianapolis is getting a better glimpse of the man they elected to be a different kind of Mayor in 2007. It's not a particularly pretty image.
To be honest, I questioned whether or not I should publish that story of what happened at the Hob Knob because that's never been what this blog is about. I was about to urge the source to take the story elsewhere when I asked a trusted friend for advice. That friend told me that this was an important story to tell and that people needed to know about the incident. I was concerned about seeming partisan, but my friend said that the details, as told by my source, would stand on their own.
I moved forward. No looking back.
I don't know if Greg Ballard even knows who I am. I have had some very kind and cordial conversations with the Mayor on more than one occasion. I find him to be someone who is pretty good at politics because he's successful playing the, "I'm not a politician card." In the one time that I've had a private audience with the Mayor, I found him to be totally different. In a small group, gone is that bumbling character he plays on the microphone, and there is a focused and direct politician.
I haven't seen that Greg Ballard much in public. Every once in a while, you'll see the Mayor get agitated by a question of a reporter. Greg Ballard doesn't like to be challenged. He doesn't like his agenda...no matter who wrote it...to be challenged, either. Most of all, he doesn't want to be told no.
It's sometimes the job of the City-County Council to tell him, "NO." It's called checks and balances. In the end, it's up to the voters to decide which side is right and which side is wrong.