Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Hybrid Debate Revisited; Was Pay to Play Politics Involved?

At the end of the last year, Mayor Greg Ballard's administration announced that it had chosen to buy 85 hybrid Camrys from Andy Mohr Toyota rather than buying cheaper Malibu hybrids from Penske Chevrolet.

I thought the administration had a good response that the Camrys, although initially costing $148,000 more, could perhaps produce savings on gas in the long run, assuming gas prices rise beyond $3 a gallon. However, the savings has to be balanced against the importance of supporting locally-owned businesses. Parts of the Malibu are made in Indianapolis and Bedford, while the Camry hybrid is made in Kentucky. If the GM stamping plant in Indianapolis goes out of business, the loss in property tax revenue would make any gas savings look like chicken feed.

So I had mixed feelings about whether it was a good deal...that is until I started hearing the rumors that pay to play politics might have been involved in the decision. The information I have is that it has been confirmed by some high-level Republicans, that Andy Mohr Toyota is indeed a client of Barnes & Thornburg, whose partners Bob Grand and Joe Loftus, regularly sit in on meetings with the Mayor, meetings where this kind of decision would have likely been discussed.

Joanne Sanders, minority leader on the council, has asked questions about how the bidding process was done. They are legitimate questions. Bob Grand, Joe Loftus and the Mayor's Office need to disclose whether Andy Mohr is indeed a client of Barnes & Thornburg. There should be zero tolerance for secrecy in such matters. Questions regarding whether Andy Mohr is a client of Barnes & Thornburg, and the influence of that fact on the decision-making process, need to be answered, and answered honestly.


Diana Vice said...

Barnes & Thornburg, huh? Is anyone listening out there? The sheeple are getting restless.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I know it's a big surprise, Diana. We need to insist on more honesty and openness in government.

Anonymous said...

Ballard needs to seek independent legal advice in the future, Barnes & Thornburg are running him into the ground. I speak with lifelong republicans often who are very upset at the way B&T is running our city and Ballard's naivity coupled with unwarranted arrogance.

M Theory said...

I was all about those Toyota Hybrids, but I didn't understand that there were Chevy Malibus available too.

This is fishy.

I've emailed a huge list of people who were active in getting Ballard elected to attend the Mayor's Luau on the 24th.

We need a BIG show of force from THE PEOPLE!

Anonymous said...

None of Caqmrys are made in America. They are assembled here from parts and steel that are mostly from overseas.

Some money stays here, but the majority is shipped out of the country.

Anonymous said...

Andy Mohr has a Chevy dealership also