IBJOpinion

Forget Pacers; focus on city services

May 8, 2010
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

Re: [April 26] editorial calling for Simons to donate to keep the branch libraries open, the ongoing dialogue about the Simon request for a subsidy to pay $89 million for their basketball team’s stadium costs masks the real issue: Basic city services in Indianapolis are ignored, sold to others or poorly dealt with.

Fact: The water here currently smells funny. Whether it is temporary or permanent, safe or unsafe is not the issue. This city needs alternative supplies to the dirty canal water. Selling our water system to someone else just pushes the problem to a different party. I have never lived in a city with such poor-tasting drinking water. This priority should take precedence over a Conseco Fieldhouse/Pacers bailout.

Fact: The closing of branch libraries in our inner core leaves city youths with one less alternative to keep them busy. We need to keep the branches open. How about reduced hours (closing Sunday and Monday, opening at noon) or creative solutions? This too should take priority over a Pacers bailout.

Fact: In the current recession and continued cutbacks of our two major employers (the state and Lilly), we have less money for mega-projects of any kind (new library, new airport, subsidized new downtown hotels, and new stadiums all were from a different era).

Fact: Selling the parking meters and system in Chicago was a disaster. Rates tripled, service dropped. We need to rethink this one, too.

This is a very long way of stating the obvious: Sorry, Mr. Simon but we have no money to subsidize your basketball team, whether it be for stadium costs or anything else.

Further, Mayor Ballard and city leaders need to focus on (not selling off) provision of basic city services: drinking water, parking and roads, libraries, schools and transit—and not supporting for-profit sports teams with taxpayer funds.

Finally, we need to stop the flight to Hamilton County and the duplication by Carmel of amenities already offered here.

____________

Bill Malcolm

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  • Big Spending Ballard
    Can you really believe this? Closing libraries and schools while handing over tax dollars to the wealthiest family in the state- in the name of entertainment?

    I am a republican, the old non big spending type, not the ones of the last decade, but the mayors corporate bailout hypocrisy has completely clouded any reasonable judgment he was supposed to have.

    What does he have left to campaign on. Murders every day and facilitating corporate bailouts of the highest order? Democrats look a lot more responsible.

    I found a great symbolic Pacers Bailout sticker for my car: http://www.StickEmUpIndy.com

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  1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

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  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

  5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.

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