Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mayor Ballard Suggests Taxing Joe Sixpack to Bail Out CIB; How About a Recall Provision?

Well, it's come to this. Last night while looking up the state conflict of interest rule in the electronic Indiana Code, I ran across the section dealing with removal of public officials. Furiously I began searched the Code looking for a way that the public can recall an Indiana mayor. Alas, I could find no such provision in the Indiana Code or the Constitution. The only section I saw applied to impeachment of public officials and did not seem to apply to a mayor.

Does anyone believe that if Indiana did have recall for mayors, that certainly a petition would be circulating right now to remove Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard from office?

In today's paper, reporter Brendan O'Shaunnessey follows up on an earlier television news report that Mayor Tax, er Ballard, has added a new tax he wants to increase to bailout the CIB's for its overindulgence in handing out professional sports subsidies. This time, Mayor Ballard wants to jack up the alcohol tax and to make the tax increase regional - not for the purpose of getting the donut counties to contribute to the CIB bailout mess, but to buy off the support of legislators representing those counties. Several mayors in those counties might appreciate the extra revenue. Certainly Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, who has taken his borrow and spend policies to new heights in the Indianapolis suburb, would benefit from extra tax revenue.

So now, Mayor Ballard wants to increase the tax on alochol, rental cars, hotel rooms, and now apparently is now backing away from his steadfast promise about not supporting expansion of gambling. Geez, gambling lobbying money infused into Indianapolis politics - no chance for corruption there, right?

Let's recap. Mayor Ballard is desperately trying to raise people's taxes to support the CIB's subsidies to professional sports, supports picking up the $15 million a year in operating costs for the Pacers on a building in which the team gets 100% of the revenue, and refuses to investigate what went wrong at the CIB or ask that the board be reformed so this mistake never happens again. But when it comes to city's pools, the city market, mowing the city's parks, well those issues just aren't a priority for the mayor.

There is no excuse for why the city's pools could not have been fixed during the off-season. While I agree the city market needs a change in direction, most certainly a subsidy for the city market is a heck of a lot more justified than giving the Pacers $15 million more. As far as the failure to mow the city's parks, well that appeared to be nothing more than continued mismanagement by the mayor's administration.

The Governor and key legislators have talked about giving the city options during the special session. Here's an idea for legislators. How about giving the city's residents a statutory option to remove a mayor of a consolidated city? We'd appreciate it.


jabberdoodle said...

I'd like the ability of the public to add referendum questions to the November ballots, please. Binding, of course. Thank you.

The Mayor's steadfast and uncritical support of all of the CIB's money requests, even disregarding raises, increased numbers of employees, and grants to subsidize Irsay's LOS rental prices, will make all of Ballard's cost cutting measures laughable and impossible to sell. I understand that the folks in some City departments are not allowed to get business cards due to the City's money woes, even though they interact with the public daily. But, $15M to the Pacers - not a problem.

Leslie Sourwine said...

Mr. Ogden

I've mentioned the recall option many many times. No, it is not yet in the Indiana Constitution but a petition to add an amendment to the legislature will get it there! Once the constitution is amended then taxpayers will have the power to recall not only the mayor but all the city-county council members who are riding on Ballard’s coattail. Should we put a petition together and see how many taxpayers will sign it?

Leslie Sourwine says recall is the only answer to run-away government.

Paul K. Ogden said...


Indiana does not have the petition process (which is called an "initiative") to put proposed state laws or constitutional amendments on the ballot. Unfortunately that too would require legislative action.

Leslie Sourwine said...


Why would the recall option need to be put on the ballot? Doesn't the legislature have the power to amend the Indiana Constitution? How do they amend the constitution?

:-) Maybe I'll have to take time to read your constitution more thoroughly.

Downtown Indy said...

It was almost impossible to obtain the ability to vote up or down on major school projects worth a few million. I'm afraid the ability to vote up or down on mega-million CIB projects will never come to be.

And as to recalling the mayor, this will not accomplish a thing unless all the other riff-raff can be swept out, too.

Otherwise, the movers and shakers will move another of their own into the 25th floor.

A petition might be a useful exercise to see what happens, but typically these don't amount to much. I recall the online property tax petition 2-3 years ago. I believe it got 400-500 signatures.

But give it a shot:

Sign the petition

Leslie Sourwine said...


Other cities that have the recall option can remove the whole city government for the very same things going on with Ballard and his followers. Then the people hold another election and I vote for Paul Ogden for Mayor. Next I vote for city-council members all those who have been brave enough to speak out against the pay to play politics and corporate welfare.

Paul K. Ogden said...


It's possible adding recall, inititiave, etc. could be done by a statutory change which is a simple enactment of the legislature. However, it may take an amendemnt to the state constitution.

Indiana's amendment process involves the proposed amendment passing two separately elected legislatures (only by a simple majority vote) and then approved by the voters in a referendum. Translation: it takes years to amend Indiana's constitution.

DI is correct. Indiana is historically very opposed to direct democracy (recall, initiative, referenda). It was hard enough to get the referendum on the school project. The only constitutional direct democracy measure is the referendum on constitutional amendments...of course 49 states have that though.

DI has a good point about the riff-raff simply taking over. I would hope at some point the political parties get the message. Okay, maybe it will take a full blown election before that happens.

Leslie Sourwine said...


Changing our constitution is the same. It takes time, much to the dismay of those who were opposed to Gay Marriage.

With the 2010 Prosecutor election coming up it might be worth the time to organize those who have been greatly affected by the Brizzi office, the low income and minorities who often do not vote. As for the Mayor election I think I would do the same as well. There are more citizens struggling to from pay check to pay check in the lower to middle income brackets than there are corporations and the only way to wipe out the corporate welfare may be to get those people motivated to fight back against corruption and pay to play politics.