BillTaft / Special to IBJ

Recent Articles

TAFT: Another chance to enlist neighborhoods to fight crime

May 17, 2014
Indianapolis is grappling with one of its most violent years, leading citizens to ask hard questions about why such crime is growing and what we can do about it. While this crime spike has generated loud calls for a much larger police force, the city’s lean budget cannot be our only solution.

TAFT: Indianapolis vacant housing at critical crossroads

March 15, 2014
Neighborhood and local government leaders in Indianapolis increasingly face a dilemma: Let tax-foreclosed houses sit vacant or enable their acquisition by large, scattered-site rental investors.

TAFT: Just whose downtown is it, anyway?

January 18, 2014
Downtown Indianapolis was recently ranked No. 1 for livability among smaller cities by—gratifying praise after $9.3 billion of reinvestment. Recent debates and plans, however, have raised a fundamental question: Whose downtown is this?

TAFT: How to meld Christian, secular values

November 2, 2013
The next legislative session is likely to feature several bills affecting “social” issues like same-sex marriage, curriculum controversies and religious activities in public schools, abortion and public prayer.

TAFT: Redouble fight against urban poverty

August 31, 2013
Brookings Institute researchers recently published a book called “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America” that profiles how quickly poverty is migrating from many urban centers to their surrounding suburbs. Metro-area poverty has grown fastest in the suburbs over the past 30 years—experiencing a 64-percent increase versus 29-percent growth in urban centers.

TAFT: Cities are great places to raise kids

June 1, 2013
I recently participated in a planning session for downtown Indianapolis that included cultural and civic leaders whom I consider very pro-urban Indianapolis. As the conversation turned toward the urgent need to recruit more taxpayers into city neighborhoods, one of my colleagues stated that it really wasn’t practical to raise a middle class family in the city, and many others agreed.

TAFT: Education map shows Indy holds its own

March 30, 2013
A recent Ball State University study showed a growing movement of Marion County residents to Hamilton County and triggered a series of columns pinning a lot of the blame on poor-quality city schools.

TAFT: Indy arrives at new set of crossroads

February 2, 2013
Several recent zoning battles have revealed an opposition to change in many Indy neighborhoods that could sabotage the changes that are necessary if Indianapolis is to compete with other metro areas and even its own suburbs in coming decades.

TAFT: Restore City Hall to its rightful place

December 15, 2012
Just north of the revived City Market, along the Alabama Street stretch of the Cultural Trail, stands a vacant landmark that has resisted redevelopment for almost a decade—the old City Hall.

TAFT: Resurrecting Indy's urban housing market

November 17, 2012
The recession affected some older Indianapolis neighborhoods differently than it did the larger metro area housing market, with areas of Marion County taking particularly hard hits.

TAFT: An excellent adventure in Portlandia

October 13, 2012
I am sitting on a plane with 90 representatives of Indianapolis returning from a leadership exchange to Portland, Ore., trying to puzzle out what we can learn from a city that is so different from our hometown. Portland is similar in size and has a blue-collar history like Indianapolis, but it followed a very different path the past 30 years.

TAFT: Why I didn't watch the conventions

September 15, 2012
I admit it. Even though I was a political science minor in college, I did not watch one minute of the Republican or Democratic national conventions. But I am not alone. In some very informal polling, I have learned that lots of engaged local leaders also skipped these television events.

TAFT: Invest through TIFs for brighter future

August 18, 2012
The disagreement between Mayor Ballard and City-County Council Democrats over the use of tax increment financing sounds like a wonky tax policy debate, but behind this conflict are far more fundamental questions of how we use our city’s resources to prepare for its future.

TAFT: Institutions must invest in neighborhoods

July 14, 2012
Local government should encourage such partnerships.

TAFT: Urban independents' frustration with pols

June 16, 2012
They are increasingly sick of watching the old-school posturing of the two parties.

TAFT: Momentum gathering for urban revitalization

May 19, 2012
We now have proven revitalization strategies and a collaborative spirit.

TAFT: Charters are stable arks amid flood of change

April 14, 2012
The relative autonomy of charter schools will allow them to focus on their internal success in spite of the chaos of system breakdown around them.

TAFT: A golden chance to mainstream urban living

March 17, 2012
The massive momentum of suburban growth seemed unstoppable until the housing bubble’s spectacular implosion.

TAFT: Now for a Super Bowl just for ourselves

February 18, 2012
Downtown is indeed our city’s living room.

TAFT: Education reform should include real estate

January 21, 2012
IPS has declined to sell or lease these buildings to charter schools.

TAFT: Jobs will bring back worn neighborhoods

December 24, 2011
When these factories left these neighborhoods it curtailed their vitality.

TAFT: Indy needs demolition and renovation

November 26, 2011
No city has ever demolished its way to urban health.

TAFT: The mayor as crucial recruiter-in-chief

October 22, 2011
Indianapolis could become a core of unskilled, low-wage earners in a region of knowledge workers.

TAFT: More leverage needed from Water Co. sale

September 24, 2011
If these funds are completely spent on infrastructure repairs or even enhancing service programs by capitalizing a new endowment, we will miss an opportunity to attract a far greater investment in transforming our core city.

TAFT: Why mass transit should be a GOP issue

August 20, 2011
History actually shows that Republicans have been the authors of the largest publicly funded transportation projects in U.S. history because they believed infrastructure investment was an important way government could be a catalyst for economic development.
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