Today, May 25, at 11 a.m., we shall stream "live" from Good Earth, located on Guilford just north of the Rainbow Bridge in what is, for now, beautiful Broad Ripple Village. The focus of our conversation with guest panelists Matt Stone ("Indy Student" blog), Len Farber ("Indy Vanguard"), Rudy the manage of Good Earth, and a couple of the folks who attended Thursday evening's Broad Ripple Village Association ("BRVA") meeting will be the proposed construction of an architectural monstrosity on the site of what is now an abandoned Shell station and the land behind the station, now occupied by two-story apartment buildings built, according to at least one of the speakers Thursday evening, in the 1930s.
I want to address a critique someone posted on the FB page of Paul Ogden ("Ogden on Politics") about my blog of yesterday. There was little of substance to the critique. The writer said I was not even-handed since I used what is popularly called the "f-bomb" preceded by the word "cluster" to describe the ways in which Broad Ripple has been developed in recent years. A drive down Broad Ripple Avenue on a Saturday afternoon gives life to the phrase I used. I believe my use of the phrase was a good fit. The person who posted the critique did not offer any examples of my account of the meeting as being inaccurate.
What we face is a make-over of Broad Ripple by corporate elements drawn to the availability of money from the Midtown TIF life blue bottle flies are drawn to a pile of warm cow compost. (I did not use the "s" word there. I hope that meets with someone's approval.) The people on the stage Thursday night are more interested in money than in the best interests of Broad Ripple---as we know Broad Ripple---Village. The American College Dictionary defines "village" as "a small assemblage of houses in a country district, larger than a hamlet and generally smaller than a town, and sometimes (as in parts of the U.S.) incorporated as a municipality."
Norman Mailer once testified, in Dellinger and other v. United States (also known as the Chicago Seven (or Eight) trial) that a word is nothing without its nuances. I do not see a five-story structure, in my mind, either within the definition or nuances of "village."
Let us get to the notion that Whole Foods---a corporation with a value of $18 billion dollars---is here to provide "competition" in a "free market." Competition implies an even playing field. If, on one side of the playing field, a team has $18 billion dollars in resources for uniforms, pads, equipment, team physicians, training facilities, steroid injections, substances to mask league drug tests, and a bunch of other neat stuff, that team has a big advantage over a neighborhood team with basic equipment sufficient to meet league rules; make that a huge advantage. The advantage is made even greater where, as here, Whole Foods' operation will be subsidized, if even indirectly, by funds from the Midtown TIF. To add to the metaphor, that would be the same as building the scoreboard for the other team and racking up points on it before the first quarter kick-off. I use the football metaphor because: 1) Football, with its violence and injuries, is a common metaphor in our society and 2) This City has subsidized football (i.e. the former Baltimore Colts) to such a great degree that the team's owner now is a billionaire. (Kudos, by the way, on the $20K donation and immediate press release for the tornado victims in Oklahoma there, Jim.) This is not competition in a free market. It is a game rigged de facto before the ball is teed up. The game plan of Whole Foods, its "business model," is to move into a community and take over or otherwise shut down local "competition." It does so under the guise of its provision of "organic" foods. Many of the foods are "organic" only in the sense that "organic" chemistry is "organic" because it involves the element carbon.
Whole Foods also touts its reliance on local farmers. In answer to a question, at Thursday night's meeting, about buying produce from local farmers, the Whole Foods rep described what Whole Foods does in a $10 million program with Costa Rica. That's spiffy. I did not understand the connection between Costa Rica and local farmers in mid-Indiana. Perhaps Mayor Ballard or Mayor Vaughn has finally obtained that rapid transit. It consists of a bullet-train from Costa Rica right up here to Broad Ripple. Perhaps they have read the works of Marshall McLuhan and have some concept of a "global village." There was nothing else in the gentleman's answer to indicate connections with growers of local produce, unless one resides in Costa Rica.
This is part of a "vision" for Broad Ripple in which Broad Ripple's current residents and what we want is not as important as the TIF money, the dreams of developers, and chits (I did not use an "s" on the front part of that word) Greg Ballard owes to contributors of what, one only can hope, is his last bid for any elective office.
Please join us this morning for the live stream of Civil Discourse Now.
And, as a final note, let me put forth a challenge to any individual from BRVA who would like to take the affirmative on: "Resolved: we should support the plans as advanced Thursday May 23 for the development on the Shell station site." I shall be happy to take the negative side. The person may contact me.