|Councilor Steve Tally|
What happened from that point on is not clear except to those who were present of which I wasn't. Channel 16's video went black. In the background you could hear councilors discussing if they could proceed without Tally. Eventually Councilor Cain asked Republican Attorney Jonathan Elrod if they could proceed without Tally. Elrod gets ready to answer and the audio is cut. (Additional video has since been added though there is still a gap.)
|Councilor Vop Osili|
The Indianapolis Star has a story discussing how the key votes of certain councilors were bought off by the administration:
But the ice thawed Monday after the administration reached an agreement with Democratic council members Vop Osili and Joseph Simpson. They represent districts near those proposed new development zones.
In a newly released memo outlining the agreement, Deron Kintner, Ballard’s new deputy mayor for economic development, commits to tapping $13.5 million from city economic development funds for three loan and workforce training programs.
The committee also amended the proposal to require some local hiring by contractors on new projects and to promote minority employment.
“It adds opportunity for all participants in the community,” Osili said after the meeting, including for workers who could benefit from new jobs if they received proper training.The article does not mention that Vop Osili's own firm might benefit from any development.
Over at Indiana Barrister (a misnomer since Abdul isn't licensed to practice law in Indiana), Abdul flippantly declares that "[a]lthough Committee Chairman Steve Talley had said the meeting was adjourned, there was no second and no vote, so there is no question about the legality of the proposal."
Not so fast. I don't know council rules, but I know in most legislative bodies the chair of a committee has absolute power over what is heard in the committee. Even if everyone on the committee wants to hear a bill, if the committee chair refuses to do so, the bill is dead. The way around the recalcitrant chairman is to: 1) ask that legislative officer empowered to assign bills to committee, assign it to another committee with a more favorable chair; or 2) a discharge petition is filed to have it heard by the full legislative body. There is no option of holding a meeting without the committee chair and vote on the bill in his absence, even if the committee has a quorum. I'm a little surprised that Elrod didn't raise that point since he used to be in the Indiana General Assembly and that's the rule in that legislative body. It's unlikely Elrod would have had the time to look up to see if the Council has a different rule than what he experienced in the General Assembly.
Regardless, I have to admire Councilor Tally's willingness to stand up to people who want to continue funnelling our tax dollars to politically-connected developers at the expense of schools, libraries, parks and public safety. As is well-documented, the Indianapolis TIFs have become a slush fund for the administration to hand out money without council oversight. (Some of the TIF property taxes ended up being funnelled to the Pacers through the CIB. Undoubtedly this practice will continue.) Now apparently that some Democratic councilors are seeing some of this money in their districts, they are willing to vote for the administration's proposal and against the best interests of the public.
Councilor like Tally and Brian Mahern understand the abuse of the TIFs and are insisting that safeguards and transparency be put in place before new TIFs are created or existing TIFs are expanded. That frightens a lot of the city's public and private power brokers who have long depended on TIFs as a way of having the public assume the risk for private downtown development. Tally was right to stand up to members of his own caucus who were seeking to rush the TIFs through before rules protecting the public from TIF abuse can be enacted.
Pat Andrews of Had Enough Indy has an excellent take on these developments as does Gary Welsh over at Advance Indiana.