Yesterday afternoon, Pat Andrews, who has been a guest on The Show several times and is amongst the best bloggers of local politics in Indianapolis at "Had Enough Indy?" printed, on her blog, an exchange of e-mails between Indianapolis City-County Councilor-at-Large Zach Adamson and Dennis L. Rosebrough, a mayoral-appointee to the Board of Public Works. Adamson had e-mailed members of the Public Works Board to voice his opposition to the proposed cricket complex Mayor Ballard has proposed the City build from funds marked for "Rebuild Indy." Those funds originally were meant for rebuilding the City’s infrastructure, the elements of which are such things as roads, sidewalks, curbs, and replacing abandoned housing.
Instead of spending those funds on such basic necessities, Mayor Ballard has proposed construction of a stadium in which cricket can be played. In addition to expenditure of money for purposes other than those for which it originally was marked, there are other problems: the lack of a cultural base for cricket in Indy; the harsh experience of Lauderhill, Florida, when it built a similar facility and received no help from the national group that promotes cricket.
I was bothered also, however, with Mr. Rosebrough’s response to Councilor Adamson. IN relevant part, Mr. Rosebrough wrote:
"There were those who thought a domed stadium addition to the Convention Center was foolish and that even involved a new tax. As a member of the PR group for that project, we heard all the arguments. With Mayor Hudnut’s and the City-County Council’s bold vision, it was built - and as they say, ‘the rest is history.’ Obviously, this project is not even in the same league (maybe $5 million cost and no tax impact vs. $50 million and a new tax), but it does represent a ‘vision’ for our community. I will proudly continue to support this project."
I do not believe reference to the doomed Hoosier Dome is very good support for an argument to build a cricket field. First, the cost was not $50 million. The completed cost was $77.5 million. Perhaps the $27.5 million difference means little to Mr. Rosebrough. After all, he is an appointed public official. We still pay for the Hoosier Dome. Its construction created "a new tax." That was added to make the Irsay family very wealthy. The net return to Indianapolis and Marion County has been, as is usual for publicly subsidized sports venture, to the public’s negative. Check the website fieldofschemes.com.
I say kudos to Councilor Adamson as he stands up for taxpayers and the best interest of Indianapolis. Also, Councilor Christine Scales (District 4) has joined in asking questions about this boondoggle. She, too, deserves our praise.
The friends of Mayor Ballard probably are upset that someone has put a hitch in their git-along (as a Tennessee Ernie Ford character once said on an episode of "I Love Lucy"). That is a bummer. They might not make more money aat our expense. And btw, the total cost of the cricket field will be closer to $15 million than $6 million. That would have been income for campaign donors in the last mayoral election, probably.
Next Saturday, May 11, Jeff Cox will join us for discussion of our focal topic: the chaos on Syria and possible United States involvement there. We probably also will discuss cricket.