Snow storms happen in Indiana. People whom we elect to political offices, such as mayors whose duties (unlike legislators' jobs) include hands-on response to such events, should be prepared to respond. Mayor Hudnut was there in the 1978 blizzard. In the 1970s, Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic lost office largely due to his inept response to inclement winter weather.
The response of Indianapolis city government to the snow with which we were hit over a month ago was poor. Streets were not plowed. The Mayor's Action Hotline was manned only when convenient for staffers. The impression many had was of a Mayor who either was absent from the City he rules---the weather is warm many of the places to which the intrepid Mayor Ballard travels and one would give little thought to snow---or was clueless about how to deal with blizzards or how to appoint people competent in the way to deal with blizzards. Ballard people scrambled.
If Indianapolis was in a semi-tropical clime, one could understand. Or maybe---no, not even then---if the blizzard had occurred in Ballard's first year in office, one could write the bungles as lessons to be learned for a newly-elected Mayor. But a Mayor's job entails the confrontation of such things as natural disasters. This category of executive responsibility might not be a sexy theme for an election campaign, but it should be. The inability of an officeholder to address such matters should be reason to turn someone out of office.
We should ask candidates for Mayor and Governor: 1) What plans do you have to address blizzards, tornadoes (phenomena definitely known to Hoosiers) and other such natural disasters? 2) Whom do you have on your "team" to address such matters? 3) Do you have plans to coordinate with other governmental agencies to handle these events?
Mayor Ballard's prowess in this field is poor. His plans for hand-outs to cronies, on the other hand, stretch back over years.
The land giveaway and development for Whole Foods in Broad Ripple has been on the planners' tables for at least four years, according to people who spoke last year at the "town meeting" in Broad Ripple. More recently, it has come to light that the plans to move Marion County's courts and related offices to near the county line next to Hendricks County have been in the works for about four years. The airport plan will line a lot of the Mayor's pals' pockets, as will the Broad Ripple development for Whole Foods.
"Graft" is defined as "the acquisition of gain or advantage by dishonest, unfair, or sordid means, esp. through the abuse of one's position or influence in politics, business, etc." "The American College Dictionary," 1962 ed., p. 525. "Sordid" is defined as "1. dirty or filthy. 2. morally mean or ignoble: sordid gains. 3. meanly selfish, self-seeking, mercenary." Ibid., p. 1152.
Why have Mayor Ballard's minions have been so meticulous as to plan years in advance ways to grab public money---by unfair or sordid means is my contention---yet have given such little thought to how to clear streets? If basic city services were of the same priority as the "zip-line" for the Super Bowl(r), Indianapolis might not be the darling (sucker) of the National Football League(r), but our citizens would have a better quality of life.
Mayor Ballard's priorities seem to be in places other than competent running of the City of Indianapolis.
Please---PLEASE? Will someone---Republican or Democrat or Libertarian or any party---please challenge this Mayor? When he leaves office, I fear, he will leave behind an odd development of urban existence; a city the center of which caters to conventions and sports events but otherwise is dead. Snow plows---or schools or police---will not be necessary for such a hulk. Ballard will not care. He will be in a warm climate, sipping drinks that are served with little umbrellas.