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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. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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