Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ballard's New Cricket Venue...Even the GOP is Fired Up

At a time where Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is receiving even more scrutiny than normal because of the apparent power grab he is making via the General Assembly, you would think he would perhaps lay low for a bit.  But that is definitely not the case and even his own party seems upset at his dismissive attitude towards checks and balances.

Last week, Ballard announced that Indianapolis was going to be building a $6 million cricket venue.  The project had apparently already been in the works for at least two years, but the administration had been keeping it hush hush.  To make things even more interesting, the first announcement of the plans didn't come to the residents of the City of Indianapolis, or even to an audience here in the Good Ol' US of A.  Instead, when Ballard decided to make these plans public, he did it in Hyderabad, India.


That's right, Ballard kept plans to spend six million taxpayer dollars on the down low for years, and waited until he was halfway around the world to make the information public.  And he did so with some utterly suspect quotes, obviously planted in his head by whatever group convinced him this was a great idea.

Cricket is not exceptionally strong in the U.S. right now.  I need to change that.

When people from around the world think of cricket, I want them to think of Indianapolis.

Can't you just hear the ego flowing out of those statements?  HE needs to change that?  Are we to believe that Ballard is some huge cricket fan that has been secretly putting together these plans in some grand scheme to make the citizens of this country suddenly believe that cricket is God's gift to the sporting world?  And does he really believe that the way that will happen is by putting a handful of fields on Post Road?

The answers, of course, are a resounding no.  Ballard doesn't care about cricket.  And making this
announcement in India shows that he doesn't really care about Indianapolis, either.  I'd be willing to lay good odds that we are going to find out that the builders of this project are somehow well-connected to Ballard, and are going to profit a healthy amount because of it.

And now things are getting even more interesting for Ballard, as his own party is expressing dismay in what is going on.  According to an article in Monday's IBJ, the City-County Council plans to discuss the matter and request more information from the Ballard administration on it.

The Council knows it is powerless to stop the park at this point, but they are seeking some specific projections on its cost and potential revenue.  Republican Councillors Ginny Cain and Janice McHenry, and Democratic Councillor Pam Hickman are quoted in the article as having expressed specific concerns. Cain and Hickman both address the budget woes the parks are already facing...among which include potential lay offs and reducing maintenance.  McHenry, who serves on the Council's Parks Committee, noted that the administration never even bothered to bring the plan before them.

As you might expect, though, spokespersons for the administration are rushing to the plan's defense.  Public Works Director Lori Miser believes that the project will be a revenue generator for the parks department.  She also believes that maintenance can be arranged through public-private partnerships.

Um...a revenue generator?  Really?  Let's just pretend that the venue can fill 10,000 spectator events (and don't get me started on where those people are going to park in that area,) and that each person's presence generates $20.  That means that it will take 30 capacity events to just break even at this location.  And that's if there are zero costs involved, which is obviously not the case.

And public-private partnerships taking care of the maintenance?  Right.  Because the Ballard Administration has such a strong track record of those partnerships working out to the taxpayers' advantage.  **cough water company cough**  **cough parking meters cough**

The truth is, this is some idea that was spoon fed to Ballard by a person or persons that stands to make a lot of money off the deal.  Just like so many other of this administration's projects, an insider is ready to make a mint off of Ballard's corrupt management of the City.  I said I'd lay good odds to that fact, and I mean it.

In fact, my money's on the soon-to-be-richer insider being David Ladd.  The IBJ article closes saying,

Ladd, a former business acquaintance of Ballard's, said the mayor first raised the idea in 2009...
Ladd agreed to help.

Keep your eye on this one, folks.  Whatever news is allowed to surface is sure to point in corruption's way.

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