Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lame Duck Ballard: Lamest of Lame Ducks

Mayor Greg Ballard
It’s almost June, and my friend Amos Brown brings up a good point in his Indianapolis Recorder weekly column: When is Mayor Greg Ballard planning to do his State of the City address for 2015?

Usually, the SOTC would have happened early in the year…typically in late January or February. The fact is that the Mayor doesn’t have much to celebrate, and, while the city is not on fire, it has not been a good run for the Chief Executive of Indianapolis and Marion County.

As Brown points out, the Mayor keeps trying to regenerate his Justice Center plans over the bipartisan concerns of the Council. At this point, the Justice Center, as planned by the Ballard Administration, is a zombie at best roaming aimlessly around the City-County Building just looking for support. It’s gotten so desperate that Mike McQuillen, the Republican leader on the Council, begged union workers to contact the Councillors.

Brown mentions the failings of the development that wiped out one of the two big parking lots adjacent to the City-County Building, 360 Market Square. Brown points out an Indy Star article detailing the failings of this project so far and the concerns that cost overruns could end up costing taxpayers more than they were told or bargained for.

Then, there’s the mess over the Freedom Fleet agreement, the Mayor’s pet project to replace gas-powered cars with electric ones. Admitted “sloppy legal work” by the Mayor’s Office could mean that the entire deal is illegal and detoured proper public process. Brown again points out the bi-partisan concerns over this issue.

Brown criticized the Mayor’s “Your Life Matters” program for its slow start saying the Mayor isn’t personally invested enough in the project to make it work. In fact, it sounds like Joe Hogsett may be more invested in the plan than Ballard is announcing a teen jobs program a couple of weeks ago that fits right in with the goals of this program.
On Ballard’s reputation, Brown writes:

It’s amazing. Outside Indianapolis, Ballard has created this aura and image of a Republican big city mayor who gets things done.
But, of America’s 20 largest cities, only San Diego, Indianapolis and Ft. Worth are headed by Republicans. 
Ballard’s been the beneficiary of municipal affirmative action. Because there are so few Republican big city mayors, national media and civic groups tend to provide them outsized publicity. The sort given to endangered species.

Go and read Brown’s full piece. It’s deserving of your attention.

Ballard is losing what little grasp he had on city government, and you wonder if he even cares at this point. His flippant answers to reporters asking legitimate questions make you wonder if his heart even remains in the job. He’s becoming the lamest of the lame ducks having even lost control of his own Council caucus.

He seems to be thinking, like all of us are, January can’t get here soon enough.

No comments: