Arts leaders tout Peterson

November 6, 2007
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The race between Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson and his Republican challenger, Greg Ballard, became interesting in the final days, and not just because Ballard suddenly got traction in a widely publicized poll.

In the past few days, two prominent arts leaders zinged letters around town urging a vote for Peterson.

Jeff Sparks, president and CEO of the Heartland Film Festival, sent a letter to â??dear friends and fellow Indianapolis residentsâ?? calling for support for â??a dear friend of the arts.â?? Sparks worries Ballard would ax arts funding in the interest of a balanced budget.

And Joyce A. Sommers, president and executive director of the Indianapolis Art Center, fired off a letter to â??friends of the artsâ?? imploring a vote for Peterson to maintain the momentum that the arts community has achieved under Peterson. â??This initiativeâ??s exponential growth has bolstered the positive reputation of Indianapolis as an energetic and sophisticated community,â?? Sommers said.

The letters were not printed on the arts groupsâ?? letterhead or issued through their mail, which suggests the groups are keeping their names out of it.

Where do you come down on this? Would a Ballard victory today be a throwback to India-no-place? And do these leaders risk alienating Ballard if he wins?
  • As a Democrat, I can face the fact that Bart has made mistakes. The largest being a sense of infallibility that I can only imagine stems from yes men and women all around him. He got cocky in the second term, and he acted like his solutions were the only solutions.

    As a renter, I have to say I have not felt the sting of the property tax mess (yet), but I did feel a bit of a pinch with the income tax increase. However, without having property tax as an all consuming prism of hatred that has clouded a lot of people's judgment, I ultimately do not see a reason for Bart not to win. I am extremely skeptical that the property tax fiasco would have been handled any differently if Sue Ann Gilroy or anyone else from the Republican party were leading the city.

    Which leads me to Ballards qualifications to run the City of Indianapolis. Outside of military experience, which is questionable in regards to running the 12th largest city in the country, Ballard does not have the experience necessary to lead a 21st Century City. Plus, he has not articulated at all how he plans to lead other than the fact the is not Bart. That is NOT enough of a platform. He fails as a candidate, and I am not saying that he could surprise everyone. However, he has exhibited no signs of a burgeoning hidden talent. The Republicans got caught with their pants down, because if they had ran a viable candidate, Bart would not win this election.

    Say what you will about Bart, he has moved the city of Indianapolis a long way in 8 years, and even with crime rising (as it has across the country) and property taxes, he deserves the chance to continue on for four more years.
  • Alpha Blackburn sent one, too.
  • I am opposed of both Democrat and Republican parites. I am a registered Democrat and I feel that the current mayor needs to be sent out and the Opposing isn't even better. I feel that we need a third party that has not had a chance to show the parties true colors yet.
  • Please don't call it India-no-place. That term might have applied 15 years ago, but it certainly isn't the case now. And if we want someone to further distance the city from that unflattering moniker, then Bart Peterson is undoubtedly the better of the two candidates.
  • Eight years ago when Bart Peterson was elected, what qualified him as being able to lead the 12th largest city? Nothing! I would rather have a man in office who is beholding to no one (including his own party) than give Peterson another 4 years to accomplish what he couldn't do in the previous eight. If the Arts Community has to take a hit to help balance the budget then so be it. If the Sports Community has to take a hit to balance the budget then so be it. If the Government Community has to take a hit to ballance the budget then God Bless Greg Ballard.
  • Mike -- the problem with your thought is this idea of separate, and to an extent, competing communities. The city of Indianapolis, rather the Indianapolis Community, needs a strong leader. Maybe Mayor Peterson didn't have the qualifications eight years ago that he has today, but Indianapolis was not the same city eight years ago that is is today. Mayor Peterson has a record of investing in the Indianapolis Community for the betterment of this city and the people who live here. That is what qualifies him to lead Indianapolis for the next 4 years.Today, Indianapolis is the 13th largest city in the nation and we do need a qualified and experience leader, which Greg Ballard is not.
  • Indy- While I understand what you are saying regarding the Indianapolis Community , I also understand that there are indeed seperate and competing communities or special interests, if you will, vying for my tax dollars and who do not particularly care if those interests are contributing to the costs associated with living in this city, so long as they get what they want. There is no other way out of this mess except cutting spending. And I don't mean holding down increases. I mean reducing what we spend. And it is my opinion that Greg Ballard is capable of doing just that by virtue of his independance from both the Republican and Democrat parties. I include the GOP because they are basically no better than the DEMS and have proven as such by doing so little for Ballard. Bart Peterson on the other hand, has proven he's not up to the task. It's easier to raise taxes and put up with the flak, rather than do what needs to be done and turn off the public spigot. If Ballard does well it won't be a result of the money the GOP has spent. It will be because the voting public is tired of business as usual.
  • Most of these Republican types are opposed to any funding for arts. I doubt Ballard would go out of his way to encourage anything new. What is it that most people are upset with Petterson about? This town has had some significant gains since he took office. And, it still remains a good place to raise a family. Is it the 1% tax to fund firefighter pensions that people are upset about? I hope they are not confusing property tax increases as Bart's fault.
  • Ohmygosh, Bart is losing big time! This could very well be the greatest day in Indianapolis history.
  • Indianapolis is not the same city it was 8 years ago??!!

    As if Indy has progressed in such a way that it was fine back then
    to come to the table as a greenhorn, but now is an unthinkable
    position to be in....

    You might as well give up on Jim Schellinger and his run for Indiana governor!
  • Alright--Mr. Ballard has gotten what he wants--he had better follow thru. I'm all for giving him the chance but it better not be business as usual.
    Also- it sickens me to see the GOP acting like THEY scored a major victory with Ballard. They basically hung him out to dry and now they are coming around with open arms. My advice to Mr. Ballard is; Do what you set out to do and let the party eat cake if need be. Handle your term as if you only have 4 yrs. to right the ship. Take care of police and fire first, the poor second, and schools third. Let the private sector handle arts, sports, and economic developement. A lower cost of living will fund these areas with ease.

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