Friday, December 21, 2012

Star Columnist Criticizes Councilor for Putting Needs of City Ahead of Billionaire Sports Owners and Politically-Connected Developers

Indianapolis Star Columnist Matthew Tully
This morning, Indianapolis Star columnist Matthew Tully (yes, unbelievably, he is still employed at the newspaper) pens a column in which he opens by suggesting it will be a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of living in the city versus the suburbs.  I guess I should have known to expect more Tully drivel when he starts out a paragraph: "Crime? It's not much of a factor" when it comes to living in the City..."

Then inexplicably Tully turns the column into a rambling diatribe on Indianapolis City-County Councilor Brian Mahern.

On many evenings this year, I sat on my couch watching Channel 16, flabbergasted by the partisan, obstructionist actions of a few key members of the Democratic council majority, most notably Councilman Brian Mahern
Mahern and his allies have attempted to stand in the way of much-needed development projects, new schools and, most important, bipartisan cooperation. They've not offered reasonable opposition and alternatives, which would be welcome, but rather petty distractions. 
So I've found myself asking more questions: Is this really the best we can do? How can a city tackle major problems if some of its leaders can't focus on the right things? It's hard not to wonder whether the low-caliber political antics are a warning of things to come in a city that's finding it hard to persuade smart people to run for office.
So while crime, schools and taxes don't cause me to seriously contemplate leaving Marion County, Channel 16 scares the hell out of me.
Mahern gets the most attention, as he has been the most ridiculous, offering bitter and often nonsensical opposition, stalling progress presumably for the sake of partisanship or his own ego. In meeting after meeting this fall, the council vice president veered zealously from grievance to grievance, with no apparent goal other than to throw a fit.
He'd have more credibility if he had simply stood on his desk and screamed: "Look at me!" Because that seems to be the motive behind the actions of a man with wild fantasies of someday becoming mayor.
Still, he was hostile as usual at a meeting this week, and the tension between him and Lewis was obvious during a few exchanges. It's hard to imagine Mahern suddenly will return to being the reasonable voice on the council that he once was, but here's hoping.
I have concluded from reading his columns over the years that Tully is incredibly disingenuous.  He'll leave out and distort facts, misrepresent positions, etc., to make political points.  He does not appear to have any interest in an honest discussion of the issues.   But I now realize that there may be another factor involved.  It might also be that he is just not very bright.  Clearly Tully is not half as bright as the person - Brian Mahern - that he criticizes.

Councilor Brian Mahern
What has Mahern done that earns Tully's scorn?  Mahern played a large role in the tax increment finance study commission.  Mahern spent countless hours in meetings actually learning about the complex local financing tool.  Along the way, Mahern learned the truth...that it is a lie that TIFs only take money from the increment above the pre-TIF tax base.  He learned that TIFs often end up underperforming and it takes money from the base and other sources to prop them up.  That is money taken away from local services like schools, libraries and law enforcement.

Does Tully educate himself on TIFs like Mahern has?  Of course not. Tully is content to remain blissfully ignorant about how TIFs operate in practice, repeating lies in his column so he can support the pay-to-play political structure which robs our tax dollars so they can be handed out to politically-connected developers.

Mahern also opposes our tax dollars being given away to billionaire sports owners and believes those dollars should go to things like public safety and other city services.  Mahern takes the Capital Improvement Board to task for being incredibly irresponsible stewards of our tax dollars, most evidenced by repeated and well-documented lies about the Board's finances and incredibly bad negotiation skills.  Mahern notes that Pacers and Colts games require a great deal of law enforcement proceeds and asks that the CIB, which is suddenly flush with cash, pay a PILOT so that some of those expenses can be recovered, especially since the city is expending resources to benefit private business entities during the games.

One would think Mahern's position is incredibly reasonable, not to mention fiscally responsible.  But not in Tully's world.  Mahern is not supporting the elites over the best interests of taxpayers and that causes the columnist to pounce with his diatribe against the councilor.  Wait until next month when the Mayor proposes raising so-called "visitor taxes" to give the CIB yet more money.  Dare Mahern point out the FACT that Indianapolis already has some of the highest visitor taxes in the country and that some of these visitor taxes, such as rental car taxes, are paid predominantly by local citizens?  Tully's head might explode.  Do NOT speak the facts around Tully.  You want the truth? Tully clearly cannot handle the truth.

Mahern speaking out on these issues is the equivalent to the child pointing out the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes.  One would think that would also be the job of a responsible, honest political columnist.  But Tully is neither responsible or honest.  And, it turns out, he may be dumb too.

See also Pat Andrews take on the subject.


Had Enough Indy? said...

Tully is so uneducated about this topic, yet he continues to spread the myths so the tax dollars will flow to well-placed developers. Its a crying shame that the Star doesn't require a modicum of facts to back up such a damaging position being offered by one of their 'best'.

But, then again, we must acknowledge that the Star is not a very good paper.

Bill said...

when your own party wants to neuter you.... your in trouble..just ask your lord and savior Richard Mourdock

Mourdock and Mahern are two peas in a pod.Their ignorance and arrogance did them in.

Paul K. Ogden said...
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Paul K. Ogden said...
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Paul K. Ogden said...

Bill, please enlighten us about what Mahern has ever said that is "ignorant" or "arrogant." Standing up for taxpayers and the giveaway of our tax dollars to billionaire sports owners and politically-connected developers can hardled be called "ignorant" or "arrogant." In fact, it's just the opposite. Would you rather Mahern be a sell out like some of the other councilors?

artfuggins said...

Tully is simply a shill for the GOP. He is a paid cheerleader to confuse the public while the rich get more handouts from the city.

Bill said...

Paul, there isn't enough internet space to write about Maherns ignorance of business practice and the real world. He has been living with Dorthy and Toto for way to long and needs to deal with reality for a while.When your own dog won't let you lket him,,,your done.

I future already he has cost us millions in lost tax $ and lost wages.The Mass Ave project should have been up and running and money.

His arrogance and inflated ego thats driving his fantasy of being mayor has totally consumed his life.Paul you dont get it, he could care less about the citizens of our city, its all about him getting to be Mayor. And that simply is not going to happen. He is like your boy Mourdock,he is damaged goods forever.

Pete Boggs said...

Some enjoy access & prefer it to anything measurable as progress.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Mass Ave could take care of itself. Now the taxpayers, instead of getting help to pay for fivolous things like public safety, get to pay developers instead of getting paid by developers for a very expensive block that the City owned.

That TIF is joke number one this year. If you think otherwise, you are sorely misinformed.

Bill said...

Not really, I think that its more of a joke to let people who want to work continue to take unemployment. The 300 jobs that the Mass ave project will produce will be a big help to a lot of families.

If you would rather have them on the public dole, then go hang with Comrade Mahern. He honestly believe that Government really creates jobs.He has no idea of how the real world he has been neutered and rendered as politically relivent as Jim Holden

Had Enough Indy? said...

Oh please. The 50's called and they want your nutty logic back.

Any jobs would have been created anyway because the TIF isn't adding any value - except that the Mayor can pass your tax money on to favorite developers.

Citizen Kane said...

"If you would rather have them on the public dole, then go hang with Comrade Mahern. He honestly believe that Government really creates jobs.He has no idea of how the real world works.."

Is that you Tully? These comments are about as inane as Tully's. You are one begging the government to create jobs with this TIF! Anyone benefiting from a TIF is on the dole, don't you realize that? What are you thinking? No one is preventing anyone from doing a project on Mass Ave or anywhere else - on their dime. TIFs are just another way for our corrupt, morally bankrupt "leaders" to bundle our tax dollars and issue even more debt, so their buddies can get rich. These projects can be done - just certain people won't get rich from a transfer of wealth from the many taxpayers to the privileged few. As John Houseman used to say (paraphrasing) - They would have to get their profits the old fashioned way - they would have to earn it!

Flogger said...

I grew-up in the Chicago Area. I was accustomed to reading the Trib, and Sun Times regularly challenging the original Mayor Daly. The TV Stations challenged him also.

When I moved here in the 70's, I could not believe the contrast the Pulliam Star was so tame by comparison to the Chicago papers.

The Indy Star has always been the champion of Corporatism, Crony Capitalism and Privatization.

Tully carries the genetic code of Crony Capitalism.

If all these projects for down town such the Convention Center the Pacers, Stadiums, and the Colts Stadiums really were profitable they would have been built with out tax subsidies.

Supposedly these projects would generate growth in the Private Sector. It did not work, we had to have direct and indirect subsidies of other down town projects.

I am pleased that Mahern is standing up. The Democrats in past may have differed with the Republicans on some issues, but for the most part they were aligned with the Republicans and joined at the hip on the issue of Corporate Welfare and Crony Capitalism.

Paul K. Ogden said...
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Paul K. Ogden said...

"If you would rather have them on the public dole, then go hang with Comrade Mahern. He honestly believe that Government really creates jobs."

Seriously? You are making EXACTLY that argument as you argue for more corporate welfare. Calling Mahern a "Comrade" is laughable. He is one of the few people on the council standing up for fiscally conservative principles.

Bill, you actually think that normal busines practice and the real world involves taking money from harding working men and women to hand out that tax money to politically connected private companies when we don't have enough for public safety? No it is not. It is what happens though when you have two parties dominated by pay-to-play politics that is nothing less than corrupt.

Development in the Mass Avenue was happening anyway. There was no reason to do that TIF except to shovel more of our tax dollars to politically connected companies. And there was no reason to make the footprint of the expansion of that TIF several square miles except for the fact that they wanted a bigger slush fund(while taking money away from schools, libraries, parks, etc.) to hand out to private developers.

Far from hurting Mahern, what he is doing is highly popular with about 80% of the public. It is not popular though with the sell-outs who are only in public service to cash in, people like Vop Osili. Osili and Maggie Lewis, who, by betraying the interests of the people who elected them in favor of politically connected companies, are the ones who are limiting their careers.