Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Will Pacers Deal Be Final Nail in Mayor Ballard's Political Career?

It appears that Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and the Capital Improvement Board are dead set on handing over to the billionaire Simons family $15 million more of Indianapolis taxpayers' money even though the Simons have no leverage to renegotiate the contract. Actually, that's not quite accurate. Most likely any deal struck will involve an extension of the contract, the CIB, i.e. the taxpayers, picking up the $15 million operational costs for Conseco, AND the CIB giving non-Pacer revenue on the building to the Simons.

Personally, I think Mayor Ballard's re-election goose was cooked long ago. He's set the Democrats up on issue after issue so much so much so that even if Jill Long Thompsons' campaign professionals were employed to help the eventual Democratic nominee for Mayor, the Democrat would still easily defeat the Mayor.

This is what I predict will be the Democrats' campaign themes against Mayor Ballard should he be the Republican nominee in 2011:
  1. Taxes. Candidate Greg Ballard promised not to raise taxes and even promised to roll back the increase in the local income tax. Mayor Greg Ballard though has proposed raising numerous tax and fee increases and has not rolled back the local income tax increase as promised. (I would shoot the video of him making the promise to hold the line on taxes on the 2007 campaign trail then freeze the video with a long list of Ballard's proposed tax and fee increases scrolling across the video.)

  2. Junkets. Mayor Ballard promised to end country club politics and instead has taken those politics to new heights. He clearly has come to like the perks that come with being Mayor...the trips, the country club memberships, etc. (I would make this a humorous spot tying in all the places Mayor Ballard has traveled to while in office.)

  3. Lack of/Weak Leadership. This has the advantage that it fits into a pre-existing belief about the Mayor, namely that he is a weak and indecisive leader who is pushed in various directions by advisers. (I would use street testimonials (with real Indy voters) along with newspaper/magazine headlines and quotes that have painted a very negative view of the Mayor. This would include the Indianapolis Monthly and several Star articles.)

Now the Mayor is prepared to deal his political reputation one final fatal blow by giving away $15 million plus to a billionaire sports owner at the same time that libraries and parks are being cut?

Can an officeholder commit political suicide if his political career is already dead?


Melyssa said...

The Republicans must love it that you lay out the strategy upon which their opponent will win the election.

If this $15 million goes to the Simons, I will actively work against the mayor's re-election.

It's like he's not at all the person we knew on the campaign trail.

I honestly do not know how he sleeps at night. Can he do this and have any sense of conscience about the promises he gave to us?

varangianguard said...

All that (free) buffet food makes him very sleepy, Mel.


Downtown Indy said...

I would guess the $100k+ mayor salary (and perks!) is quite a bit more than he was making selling his corporate-management book.

So he's gotten his bennies from the job, to the tune of nearly a half million bucks.

Not bad.

Add in the USMC pension and he's pretty much set with no worries about 'the next job' (although that will probably present itself anyhow as a 'consultant' with one of the companies getting city contractual work)

Melyssa said...

All said, with the choice we got in the 2007 election, Ballard was the better choice and I feel quite certain we didn't get screwed as badly as we would with the more experienced Peterson.

(that was for you IndyErnie!)

I don't regret voting for Ballard, given the choices I had in 2007.