"Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is headed to Brazil for his second economic development mission to the country in nine months
Ballard will visit Sao Paulo from March 13-15 to meet business and government leaders. Last July, he went there attempting to broker business related to the clean-technology industry.
His second trip has a similar mission, and Ballard’s top economic developers will pave the way for his visit. Indianapolis Economic Development Inc. CEO Scott Miller and Michael Young, IEDI’s energy industry director, will be in Brazil from March 8 to March 16. The pair have stops planned in Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre in addition to Sao Paulo.
“We are targeting Brazil for investment and job opportunities because of its leadership in the utilization of alternative energy and energy conservation, and our desire to help grow the Indianapolis energy industry,” Miller said in a press release. “However, this trip will not only focus on the energy industry. We will also be meeting with business leaders from other key sectors to establish relationships we hope will someday result in new jobs in Indianapolis.”
Ballard, Miller and Young intend to attend the Sao Paulo Indy 300 as guests of the Indy Racing League. The race is the series’ first championship event outside North America and Japan.
The cost of the team’s trip is being funded by private donations."
First, the media should do a better job of asking about these "private donations" funding the trip. Private groups like the Indianapolis Economic Development Corporation probably are picking up the Mayor's tab. But what is missed is that those entities have also received several million dollar in grants from the City. So while "private dollars" might be paying for the trip, the fact is those "private dollars" originated as taxpayer money. The media though never asks the hard follow-up questions though - they just simply ask if public or private dollars are paying for the trip and accept (and publish) whatever answer they are told.
Second, while at a Pike Township Republican meeting last month, the Mayor talked glowingly of Brazil's alternative energy program which is fueled almost entirely by ethanol derived from sugar cane. The conversion of sugar cane to ethanol is highly efficient as opposed to corn-based ethanol which takes about as much energy to create as it provides as a fuel source...and of course drives up food costs. At the meeting, Mayor Ballard acknowledge that fact, but then talked about how someone in Brazil had told him that possibly some day it would be possible to grow sugar cane in colder climates. I'm sorry but I'm pretty sure 500 years from now, central Indiana still will not be growing sugar cane. Sugar cane as a basis for ethanol production is never going to happen in Indiana.
The third is a political point, which I would address to the Mayor's overpaid political advisor, Jennifer Hallowell, who by last report received about $10K a month to advise the Mayor on politics. (Given the Mayor seems totally clueless when it comes to political strategy, I can't imagine he is actually receiving any sort of professional advice on the subject.) Dear Jennifer: What the hell are you thinking advising the Mayor to take this trip? The Democrats are going to wrap these trips around the Mayor's neck next election. I can see the TV commercials now. It's a humorous spot showing all the places Mayor Ballard has visited while in office. The message will be that of a jet-setting politician, overwhelmed by the perks of his position as the city's chief executive.
Fourth, I also hear that the Mayor is supposed to be going to India in April. So it's Brazil in March, India in April. Haven't heard where the Mayor is going in May.