This Saturday, May 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Jeff Cox (Indianapolis attorney, blogger and author) and John Strinka (Socialist Party candidate for the Indiana House of Representatives in 2012) will join us on "Civil Discourse Now"for discussion of our focal topic: the chaos in Syria and possible United States involvement there.
As happened last week, we probably also will discuss cricket.
Cricket is a dart game. It also is a game some would argue was a British predecessor to our game of baseball. The latter is the game we will discuss. The reason is bizarre. Mayor Greg Ballard decided, apparently a couple of years ago, to build a cricket field in Marion County. Yesterday the Board of Public Works unanimously passed a measure to provide the first $2.4 million of what is projected to be $6 million to develop land on the City’s East side into the field for cricket, and such other highly popular sports in central Indiana as lacrosse, Gaelic football, rugby, and hurling. The contractor that received the work is Renascent, Inc. According to the on-line data at the Indiana Secretary of State, that corporation is for-profit and lists Linda D. Campbell was president of Renascent. Was this contract let on a competitive bid? If not, does Renascent, Inc., have some special expertise in construction of cricket fields? In the information I located on the internet, a Larry Campbell is referenced as the entity’s manager. Is this another example of a business taking advantage, as blogger/attorney Gary Welsh has suggested on "Advance Indiana," of the compulsory set-aside MBE/WBE provisions of government contracts?
Ballard’s first statements were to the effect that the complex would attract cricket competitions. Unfortunately, Lauderhill, Florida, dipped its municipal toe in the cricket pond via construction of a $10 million stadium with permanent seating. The national cricket organization, a group that sanctions cricket matches, failed to cooperate with the Florida city. The project failed.
Now Indianapolis backers of the project want to distinguish Ballard’s project from Lauderhill’s by saying Florida’s problem was it spent money on a more costly facility with permanent seating.
Either Indianapolis will build a facility to attract cricket games from other places—that would imply permanent seats—or the City plans to bulldoze some acres on the East side and say, "Here, you can play cricket or even Ultimate frisbee." Actually, Ultimate probably has more followers in Indiana than cricket.
Lame Duck Greg cannot have it both ways. Either he wants to develop a "World class facility"—always a phrase Indianapolis leaders seems to use at some point—or he wants to excavate a field. Te Board of Public Works passed the measure 6-0. The next mayor—unless Ballard manages to have the General Assembly declare him Mayor-for-Life in its next session—should fire the current members of the Board of Public Works.
The funds Ballard intends to use for this boondoggle are from RebuildIndy, a fund meant to refurbish the City’s infrastructure. I do not believe cricket fields qualify as infrastructure.