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Ballard nixes new redistricting plan for Council

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Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard Friday afternoon vetoed a City-County Council redistricting plan, likely setting the stage for a lengthy court battle.

Ballard wants to stick with the lines drawn by Republicans in late 2011, before newly elected Democrats took control of the council. Ballard signed the current districts into law on Jan. 1.

“The maps that I signed into law earlier this year are legal, fair and compact,” he said in a statement announcing his veto of council proposal No. 372. “They have greater population and racial equality than those proposed by the council majority.”

Ballard’s veto was expected, since in June he issued a budget veto on $180,000 that the council requested to fund the redistricting effort. Council President Maggie Lewis predicted at the time that if the mayor continued his opposition, the issue would end up in court.

Lewis wasn’t immediately available for comment on Friday.

State law requires redistricting in the year after new Census data is released. Ballard believes he fulfilled that requirement by signing off on the current districts Jan. 1. Council Democrats say the districts fall short, because they don’t reflect the latest data.

The last time the council and mayor couldn’t agree on district boundaries, they were drawn by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2003. Those maps were “compact and fair and have drawn few complaints,” Julie Vaughn, policy director at Common Cause Indiana noted in a June 30 column for IBJ.

“It’s likely the Indiana Supreme Court will once again be the final arbiter on new maps, and that’s a shame,” Vaughn wrote. “If the court has to intervene, it will mean the two major political parties have put their squabble ahead of the needs of voters, and while that won’t be surprising, it will be disappointing.”

Also on Friday, Ballard vetoed a council proposal to use money from the sale of the city's water utility for public safety. Currently, that money can only be used on infrastructure.

"When the sale of the water utility was being discussed, I made a commitment to the residents of Indianapolis that I would use the revenue generated only for the infrastructure needs in our city,” Ballard said in the statement. “I intend to keep that commitment to the people of our city. Using one-time money for an ongoing expense is unsound fiscal policy.”

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  • Nicely done
    Thanks Mr. Ballard for the veto. I love it. Thankfully we have a system that allows this. I expect more in the year to come - especially since we have a council that is so not special. Let's vote these people out next election.
  • Correct
    Sarah is right. This money comes from a 30 year loan Citizens took out to "buy" the water and sewer systems. Since Citizens is owned by the public, WE have to pay that 30 year loan back. Any improvements paid for out of the money should be 30 year improvements, things like fixing storm sewers. It should not be used to pave roads that last five years...maybe.
  • Streets that last forever?
    Mayor Ballard: “I intend to keep that commitment to the people of our city. Using one-time money for an ongoing expense is unsound fiscal policy.” Repaving streets, rebuilding sidewalks, and just about everything else this money is being spent on are also ongoing expenses.

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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